It's never too late to be who you might have been.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Deep Hidden Fear
So, I have a deep, hidden fear of writing. Seriously. I would rather sink into the cesspit of unpleasant things before attempting to write. I don't really have a lot of confidence in myself as a writer. I find this extremely annoying sometimes...like just now for example, when I sat, frozen in fear, at the prospect of writing a few e-mails to my scholarship committees , my employers and my dean. Just little short letters...literally send me into a spiral of depression. I got home, surfed the web ,aimlessly, and took a four hour nap, rather than write.
I need to get over this severe lack of self-efficacy by experiencing some success. The thing is, I have always hated writing-the writing process in particular. I hate the self-critique of having to read and edit my own work. To me, it's like that uncomfortable feeling you get when you have to watch a video-tape of yourself giving a speech...when you KNOW you've gained some weight, and your hair was out of wack, and you said "um" thirty-eight times. I mean, can't we just move on? And then there is the pride thing. I mean, didn't I do it right the FIRST TIME? Why should I take my hard work, and feed it to the vultures they call "peer editors". Do I really deserve this public humiliation? And finally, there were the classes and the teachers who gave me poor scores...and no matter how often one says that scores are just assessments to show where improvement can be made...assessments in our world are more often sentences to lives of avoidance. I would rather do that which I succeed at, so I just avoided writing. It scares the crap out of me. Wait, and another thing. I enjoy writing about things I enjoy. One of the great "duh" statements of the millennium. I enjoy writing in a loose, free format...with lots of hyphens, "...", and parentheses to mirror my style of thinking. I write in dialogue format a lot (it being familiar to me because of stage experience and overall dramatic thinking style), or in whatever form seems most accessible to my thoughts. I like writing where I cannot fail since there is no rubric.
And then there is time. If I can just bust out a written work, first draft, first time, I would enjoy it. The process is long though. It's particularly long for me, since I have a lifetime of avoidance behind me. Whenever a teacher assigns me a writing assignment, they also assign me five or more hours of irrational panic and stress, possibly tears, and a long loooong night with the thesaurus and the dictionary, and the APA format book...and the humilation of the self-proof..which I usually avoid altogether...and the super humiliation of the peer review....which I usually avoid altogether by just asking the reviewer to make the corrections they see fit, and just accepting the changes without looking at the text...and the self-esteem jackhammer of final score.
Now, I KNOW that most of my posse is hyper-literate, and that right now 50 or so good intentioned people are bursting at the seams with advice...ranging anywhere from "Just GET FREAKING OVER IT!" to "God loves all his children." but I ask you to not share. I've given myself all these pep talks. I know it's all in my head, but, as the great mentor Brian Champion said, "Your head is a very important part of your body! If it's all in your head, that's MORE important. It effects everything."
So, I wonder, what do YOU avoid? Sports? Dancing? Chemistry? Skinny-jeans? Boyfriends?
I consider myself a very malable, motivated person. I feel like I've really grown in trying new things, and being more mastery-oriented vs. failure avoiding. But this is a stinker.