I wonder about the world, and write about the wonder. I write to try to make sense of the world around me, the people, places and events that capture my attention whether or not I understand why. The answer to the why draws me to their stories. Their stories come to me and unravel themselves while I write.
I find the process of writing to be as much exploration as it is self-discovery. Through writing fiction, I can explore the connections between root cause, motivation, cause and effect, and consequence. Writing essays gives me insight into myself and how I perceive the world. Poetry shows me how to paint pictures with words. For me writing has a cathartic, almost therapeutic effect. I find it liberating to be able to explore through my writing the full extent of emotions about situations that may, on the surface, appear seemingly unrelated. I believe we all share common desires and struggles on our journey even when on different paths. Writing about joy, pain and fear helps me understand not just my own path but that of others I come across along the way.
There are times when I find myself unable to find the words, and I feel stuck.
I find I seem to suffer from writer’s block when I am afraid to be vulnerable or authentic. For me, writer’s block occurs when I try to push a series of events or an outcome in a specific direction. When I experience writer’s block, I feel frustrated and find myself constantly writing and re-writing, trying to create this mythical perfect scene that never seems quite perfect enough, even if I am only writing it in my head. I can typically notice the difference between a good or bad writing day by how I feel at the end of the writing experience. On a good writing day I may feel energized or enlightened, but a bad writing day usually leaves me feeling exhausted and insecure, not the type of exhaustion left over from having flexed every mental muscle, but rather more like the exhaustion of spending all day trying to recollect the memory of a dream without success.
The best way for me to overcome my writer’s block is to find a quiet place where I can write with just paper and pen for a brief, but uninterrupted length of time. However, sometimes, even facing paper alone does not help, and I need to just walk away and let my mind untangle the possibilities and the mess. Many times, I have to be honest with myself about what it is I fear, about why I am afraid to write what I am trying to write. I know, for me, the hardest scenes to write are the ones I shy away from; it is when I procrastinate the most and find excuses to not write. The hardest scenes for me to write are the ones that cut at my soul and make me look away.
When it comes to writer’s block, I have found that I am the obstacle, obstinate and unmoving and afraid. It is when I experience writer’s block that I learn the most about myself. In my struggle to move forward, I also learn why my writing can not move forward either. It is during these times that I have to remind myself of why I write and why I must write. I, too, wonder why I write. I wonder, and I wonder why. I know I will never know why unless I write. And, so, I write.
The truth is I have been fighting my “Imposter Syndrome” as a writer.
My experience of venturing into the world of online blogging and social media has felt much like the experience of going to my first dance. I worried about whether or not my site on WordPress would have the right look and feel. Is my dress the right color and length? Will my dress be on trend or out of style? I spent weeks trying to decide on a WordPress theme, then a few more weeks customizing my chosen theme, Kiore Moana. If my WordPress site could talk, it would say, “I’m wearing Kiore Moana, a design by Elmastudio,” as it scrolled up and down enthusiastically. But, would anyone be watching? My site would imagine being asked, “Rinconez. What an interesting name. What does it mean?”
On Twitter, I worried about whether or not I would know the right protocol. Would I know the right dance steps? Would I be able to follow along to the latest line dance? What if no one wanted to dance with me? At first, I was terrified. Actually, I was more than terrified. I felt I was always fighting a combination of apprehension and fear mixed with excitement. I started to follow other writers on Twitter and found the writing community on Twitter to be very welcoming. I read their Tweets, re-Tweeted, starred my favorite Tweets, even Tweeted myself, but I still did not feel like I deserved to be part of the writing community, not even after starting my own site on WordPress, not even after my moments alone, writing, letting the stories of the characters in my head reveal themselves on paper. I could not bring myself to consider myself a “real writer“.
The truth is I have been fighting my
“Imposter Syndrome” as a writer.
Being the center of attention is not always comfortable. It is not easy to handle criticism or scrutiny, whether it is true or not. Attention can be unpleasant when it is a negative response to a positive action, such as, revealing something about oneself or admitting to having made a mistake. Too much attention, even positive attention, can, at times, feel overwhelming or undeserved. During these times, it can be hard to remember that no one is infallible. It can be easy to forget that one cannot control how others may react or what others may say. It can be difficult to understand or recall why one may be getting the attention. These negative experiences can taint how one perceives being in the limelight. Too much attention, whether positive or negative, can make one thirsty for solitude.
Solitude and solace are not one in the same. One may be able to find solace in solitude, but such solace can come at a high cost. Seclusion can be a seductive mistress, but, ultimately, an empty companion.
There are good reasons to not run away from the limelight. The limelight can be an opportunity for growth, for improvement. The limelight can often enlighten one about oneself. The limelight’s focus can sometimes bring clarity to a hazy situation or a circumstance one was hesitant to acknowledge. The limelight can sometimes be an enjoyable experience. It can be fun to bask under the light. It is okay to enjoy one’s shining moment.
It may not always be easy to avoid the limelight, but one does not always have to avoid the limelight because the limelight will always seek a new target. Guaranteed. The limelight for all of its intensity is usually transitory.
I am typically not comfortable in the limelight, whether positive or negative. I have to remind myself to say “Thank You” when receiving a compliment. I am still learning how to handle negative opinions. I would rather try to be brave than have others feel sorry for me. I would much rather risk failure and learn from it than not try. I am still working on being brave. And, I do not always know when to stay or when to walk away. But, I am still learning. I try the best I can to handle being uncomfortable in the limelight. I am still learning how to be uncomfortable because life is not always comfortable and, sometimes, the most uncomfortable moments in life can be pleasantly rewarding.
Fear can sometimes have a disproportionate hold on our lives because fear is alone without us.
Fear as a companion provides protection and adventure. Fear often warns us of dangerous situations, in essence, becoming our consummate guardian. Thrill-seeking fear gladly tags along on any adrenaline pumping activity. Fear is typically the first one to pat us on the back for surviving some unpleasant or potentially dangerous moment in our lives. Fear chimes in with thoughts of guaranteed future success, “You can handle anything now. You’ll be ready next time.” Continue reading “Fear Tactics”