I can’t help but feel a certain sense of, I don’t know trepidation, or nervousness whenever I sit down to start writing something. It is a difficult process, mostly in the starting of it. Once I get started it seems to get significantly easier. But when the screen is blank, or the paper, it can take me hours just to get started. I’m not entirely sure why this is. I’ve felt like tearing my hair out in frustration about it at times, but that really wouldn’t do me much good, as I would be bald as well as not having anything to say.
What I think is that it comes down to the fact that I still am too afraid of what other people think of me, and if I write something that is wrong, I will be rejected, I will be ridiculed. So I freeze. It is a paralyzing effect, that ruins more than just my blog post, it is also the same thing that holds me back from joining conversations, letting people read my books, and so forth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written up a Facebook status, even long ones, and then deleted them. How many times I’ve written up a reply to someone else’s post, and then deleted it.
First: Why do I care? Does it really matter what other people think of me? Is it going to change anything?
Second: I am going to displease someone, it’s just a fact. Anytime I have anything, anything at all to say, there is someone out there who is going to find it objectionable.
Third: I’m brilliant, and wonderful, this is true, but I’m still just me. I don’t need to think so highly of myself that my ideas, thoughts, and opinions are the only ones that matter. Yes, it’s true, I’m an intelligent man, who writes beautifully in terms of writing the sort of things I enjoy reading and thinking abou. However, I am, just a man, and not a god, I have no more, or no less, than those beside me.
Despite being at it for about twelve weeks now, I’m still not used to the idea of writing post, containing my innermost thoughts and ideas, and then sharing them with, gulp, others. It is a terrifying thing, true, but it is a monster that needs to be confronted. I can’t afford to be withdrawn into myself any longer, it’s not healthy, for me, or for those who are around me.
I believe fears are best faced head on, most of the time, though I suppose it is possible for there to be exceptions. There always seems to be exceptions.
I don’t know if I’m bothered by the fact that there always seems to be something I haven’t taken into consideration, thought of, or known about, or have simply forgotten, or if I’m excited by knowing that there is much that I do not know as that means I still have a lot to learn, which is an exciting thought. I wasn’t born knowing everything. That sort of thing takes time, and there always seems to be something new to learn about.
I like writing, and getting out my ideas, once I actually do it. Once I hit that post button, I’m usually feeling excited, full of energy, and perhaps a little nervousness, especially if I’d talked about something that seems to me to be a controversial subject.
This post is basically me, just forcing myself to just write, and not care, just write. Probably a good part of my problem in writing is just writing, and often times, this is where some of my more brilliant things come out, as I tend to write from my heart as opposed to writing from my head, when I just write. Or I come up with a bunch of random gibberish that doesn’t make sense to anyone, myself included. That can sometimes happen. But to just write, is a very important concept, and it is a discipline I feel I really need to push myself to do more, even if I end up with a few, or more than a few gibberish post, papers, and so forth, as a result. Sometimes we act as though there was this ‘force’ out there that is just looking for some pathetic ‘author’ or ‘writer’ wannabe so that they can squash them like a bug, and refrain from doing the sensible thing that actually turns us into authors and writers. Practice. There will be gibberish. Who cares! Practice. There will be mistakes, even embarrassing ones. Who cares! Practice. Yes, seek to improve your craft, but a large part of that is practicing it. Practice never starts perfect, so we shouldn’t expect it to, but persistent practice will perfect it, so long as we don’t stop there, but proceed to practice some more. Write, write, write, and write some more. Or if writing isn’t your thing, paint, paint, paint, and paint some more. Or draw, or sketch, or sing, play music, or dance. Whatever it is that you are, do it, and do it some more.
There will be drawings that were meant to look like our grandmother, but ended up looking like a tomato. Don’t worry, keep practicing. There will be sketches that look more like scribbles. Keep practicing. There will be songs that are out of tune, missed a line, and might have sounded better sung backwards or upside down, keep practicing. There will notes hit wrongly, steps missed or completely in the wrong direction altogether. Practice, and never stop at perfection, but proceed to practice some more.
It is a discipline as much as it is about talent. Practice is required.
Yet, remember, that someday you might look back at some of those scribbly sketches, doomed drawings, woeful writings, sorrowful songs, notorious notes, or devilish dances and find something there you didn’t expect. They still had a bit of you in them. Not all of these works are wholly pathetic, and some of them capture you in spite of yourself. They become reminders, rather than embarrassments, on the journey you’ve taken, and if nothing else, help you know you’ve traveled somewhere.
But keep at it, even if you make a mistake, it’s okay to make mistakes. Practice is full of mistakes, learn from them, and practice some more.