Friday, July 23, 2010
Photo by drniels/Stockxchnge.com
I couldn't write.
Even worse, I avoided writing. Choose between writing or cleaning out my refrigerator or organizing my sock drawer? Guess what? I chose scrubbing out my salad crisper or matching Hanes socks.
I was more than ready to craft my book proposal. Working title. Check. Purpose for writing the book? Check. Detailed marketing strategies? Check. I even had some statistics and spiffy chapter titles.
But fear strangled my creativity. Back in high school drama productions, I never experienced stage fright. But I saw others freeze up when it was their time to enter stage left. Weighed down by layers of makeup and costumes, they couldn't recall a single line.
Weighed down by reams of research and my own expectations, I now battled "writer's fright."
Each wasted second of writing time reverberated on every clock in my house. I purged my pantry of outdated canned goods and ransacked my closet for no longer fashionable outfits.
But I didn't write a single word.
I contemplated going AWOL from my critique group. Week after week, they asked, "So, how's the proposal? Got anything for us?"
"It's coming along," I said, despite the fact that my proposal was going nowhere.
Finally I confessed I was immobilized by a book proposal. "I don't think I can do this. Why did I ever pitch that book idea?"
Writer's fright was running--and ruining--my life.
The group encouraged me to take a few deep breaths and push past the fear. "Write something. Anything. Bring even a few paragraphs to the group next week."
Time to wrestle my proposal into submission.
I can't lie--it was a painful process. I pulled out my one-page pitch sheet and transferred all the information onto that still blank page. Then, one section at a time, I fleshed out my proposal.
A week later, I presented my synopsis to my group. They did what any worthwhile critique group does: lovingly shredded my writing to pieces and then told me to try, try again.
When faced with writer's block, sometimes all I can do is clean out my closets while waiting for the block to crumble. When it comes to writer's fright, I learned it's a do or die battle.
I chose to fight back rather than watch a good idea endure a slow death.