I know some of you have been waiting for more stories from the recent Indonesia blog trip. Give me a moment to get my writing voice back again, yes? I promise, I’ll be back with them. For now, this post, partly the reason why I have been quiet here.
I thought I was fearless ever since I took up scuba diving, when I was terrified of the sea back then. Or when I finally quit my day job in July last year. I thought nothing would scare me much after taking several leaps of faith in the last year.
I found myself blanketed with fear in the last few weeks. I wish it was over sharks, like Torre had or anything else more exciting than…writing.
You see, I had a writing job I was going for in the last couple of weeks. I spent some time doing the research on the topic and decided at the end, I just could not do the piece. I backed out. I couldn’t figure out why at the time, considering that the topic wasn’t terribly difficult.
I have had writers block before (case in point: this blog when it’s quiet). But, if there was ever a moment of how writers get paralysed, as in really paralysed, that would be it for me.
I spent the next few days after trying to analyse why I did what I did. (But not before I lost myself in a book, lots of sleep and useless scribbles on my notebook!). I even questioned my sanity with internal dialogs like these:
“I thought you are a writer? I mean, you have had pieces published before, so what was the big deal?”
“I thought you want to write for that publication?”
“What the hell were you thinking?”
…and many other questions which probably ended up making me feel even smaller. (Tip: Never have a dialog with yourself when your confidence is at the lowest).
Looking back at it today, I let fear took the better part of me. It crippled me. Yes, fear, that one thing I thought I was getting good at conquering. I let myself feel inadequate after doing my research and reading what others have written, that I felt I could not possibly have something different. Instead of getting inspired by others – which is what I usually get when reading other people’s writing – I got intimidated.
It’s not the first time I felt intimidated by others’ work, but it’s the first time that I had let it become destructive. All because of my mind playing stupid tricks on me, and letting fear win on this game.
Fear is supposed to be good, and it is. I should know that. It’s a sign that you care for the result of your work. My friend Edward once wrote about how Fear is Good, that it means you are on the right track. Whenever that fear came around, you just have to push through.
In my case, I failed to push through. But it’s okay. I have accepted that this is probably what I needed to remind myself that I have so much more to learn on the craft of writing, technically and mentally.
Fear will always be around. I just need to get better fighting it when it creeps up on me.