Writing and Fear

In general I am confident about my writing. Not every piece of writing in every situation, but if I have a challenge that can be solved by writing, I have some basic confidence because writing is my best skill. And as yesterday’s domestic (as my sister calls it) showed me, I am far better dealing with writing problems than I am with human problems.

The fight was a long time coming and was exacerbated by many things. [I know you don’t care, but this is eventually about writing.] It’s the end of the semester and I haven’t seen the sun in days. But more relevant to this blog, I’m about to go on a writing residency, and I’m terrified.

In the past, at residencies, I have not had a clear plan. At my first residency I was buoyed by my friend’s assertion that even if I wrote nothing but crap, that was 30 days of crap that I would not write again. At my second residency I wrote a poem sequence that is the root of my current memoir. I wrote my zero draft of the memoir at a residency. My only requirements were that I write 2,000 words a day and that I write them about anything. That was 100 pages of pure suckage, but helped me figure out where I wanted to go and what I had to say.

The Fucker is mostly done. But I’m adding in some new material. I tried to do it the first time round and didn’t know enough to incorporate it properly. I’m super happy about the new topic, and have been ignoring everything in my life in order to research it (cf. aforementioned fight). The two weeks at the residency are when I’m testing it out. I’m going to write it.

And it’s scary. What if it doesn’t work this time? I’m getting ever closer to actually sending this poor Fucker out into the world. What if it isn’t good enough? There’s too much riding on this residency for me. I’ve got to play it down. But I’m also excited to have all the time. I know a couple of my friends I met previously at the residency are going to be there. My work ethic has been pretty good at residencies, so I have no reason to think I won’t get something worthwhile done.

OK now that I’ve blathered on and complained about my privilege, please help me out by recommending a Netflix show to binge on in the evenings when my little writing brain is mush.



11 responses to “Writing and Fear

  1. I love the idea of a residency. With my luck, I’d go blank and just stare at the scenery or something, but you’ve got experience and a plan. You go girl! It’s only scary before you get some bones on the paper. After that it’s a thing you do, and it’s a gift to know you have skill at the thing you want to do.

    My sister has Netflix, but I’m still not up to speed on their original shows. Do you like modern western/mysteries? I’ve always loved the characters and the writing on Longmire. I jumped for joy when Netflix rescued that one from A&E. That’s all I can think of right now. I’d wish you luck at the residency, but I know you don’t need it.

  2. A couple of things:

    1) You must watch Fargo (don’t have netflix here. Don’t know if it’s a netflix thingy). Fargo is fabulous. Second season. First one was pretty grim.

    2) I am about to fly to Norway to give a key note on something I CERTAINLY don’t know anything about to people who know LOTS more than I do. I keep telling them I am a fraud, and you know what they do? They laugh!

    It’s scary. what if it doesn’t work this time? What if isn’t good enough?

    Sister, you’re not alone.


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