My heart is caught in my throat, and my fingers are shaking. I have to find the perfect eye-catching words that will glue you to this first post as I also try to translate my soul frequencies into English. It gives me the same shaky, panicky feeling as if a crowd of people is waiting for me to give a perfect speech on the spot at a party.
Perfect. Perfect. It always has to be perfect.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out what my deal is with writing. I love it – until I have to do it. The pressure of finding the perfect arrangement of words to catch a reader is too great.
“Write what’s on your mind,” I tell myself. But this is what traverses my mind when I face the blank page:
“What’s the point of writing if it’s not a New York Times bestseller?”
“Your writing is going to suck no matter what.”
“This can’t be too personal or you’re going to face embarrassment later.”
“You $*%#@ imbicile.”
“If the screen turned dark right now, you’ll be looking at a face of pent-up emotion and disappointment.”
A plethora of self-deprecating messages enters my mind when I face the blank page. They tell me that I have already failed, that I am a fraud. A sense of the imposter syndrome takes over, and I start comparing myself to every writer who has ever lived.
Writing is one of my greatest fears.
Maybe it’s the rawness of exposing my deepest thoughts, the method of formulating my daydreams in a way I can’t quite explain in person. Maybe it’s the revealment of my sensitivities, my weaknesses, my extreme emotions that I hide from people. Maybe it’s my passion for pointing out topics that nobody wants to talk about – failure, sadness, mental illness, emotions, fears. Maybe it’s just perfectionism.
But the way I see it – life is like a video game. If you venture into the area where the monsters are, you know you’re in the right place. And this is my boss battle.
Why I Write Anyway
Let’s compare this to one of my other boss battles – social anxiety. It is a challenge that was once impossible but has turned more manageable as I repeatedly “restart the game” and improve my skills in defeating it. At 15, I could barely talk to my own parents. Today I would be able to speak in front of a crowd of thousands.
At a time when fears of social interaction controlled my whole life, I understood that conquering this fear would make my life infinitely easier. I made small steps every day to conquer this battle. I immersed myself in uncomfortable situations, such as speaking to someone one-on-one or even saying more than two words to my crush (Talk about impossible!). There were no short cuts. I just had to move forward.
As I became more comfortable talking to people, I built more self-confidence. I stopped wearing baggy black T-shirts and jeans. I got contacts. I started paying attention to hair and makeup. I stopped internally putting down my opinions so much. I actually started to like myself.
Now, I have the strong desire to write my thoughts and experiences, and it’s accompanied by the fear of getting words on paper. When I write, I brew the same degrading thoughts in my mind as I did when I started a conversation with someone five years ago. It’s the emerging of a new boss battle, and just like social anxiety, I can defeat this one, too.
My Writing Goals
This blog is just the beginning. It helps me practice and push past the perfectionism (say that five times fast), and eventually it will become easier. Maybe I can write a book or a best-selling series. That’s the dream.
One thought on “The One about Writing”
I, too, feel that every time I write it has to be perfect…..something for which I will magically get a phone call from the New Yorker asking me to write a monthly column for them. Even this response to you has to be perfect…..my Facebook responses too….because they all reflect who I really am in the deepest possible, most soul illuminating way. This is who i am. Nothing else I say or do is worthwhile, only words on paper or the digital equivalent. No pressure.
I think you feel much the same way.