I Get Scared

Current status: Story spinning okay
Current status: Story spinning okay

I’ve been working on a new novel idea, and I’m doing it differently this time. (Hopefully I’ll elaborate on that soon.) At the moment, I’m a little scared. Do you get scared right before you begin your first scene?

I’m so anxious, my chest wall presses up against my sternum. It’s a little tight in there, like maybe my ribs have morphed into squeezing tentacles. A friend reminded me to have fun with this new story. But I’m still taking it all too seriously, probably because I want this fiction-thing to work out. I’ve been disappointed over the last year. Losing agent, languishing finished manuscripts, writing grant fini and day-job sucking at my creative marrow…

I can’t avoid the writing forever — and by avoidance I mean engaging in endless story-development exercises — because at some point the head of steam compels me to set words on paper. I feel uncomfortable and itchy, just gotta start. I’m at the teetering point now. I’ve been here before. The discomfort is familiar, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve worked through it before and will work through it now. 

This discomfort in a good sign. The story has almost completed its initial gestation period.

This discomfort differs from that I felt at the beginning of the summer, when I thought I’d never have another story idea. Now that’s the truly scary place! Glad I’m past that.

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2 thoughts on “I Get Scared

  1. You’re not alone with the fear. I get it at the start, and then all the way through. For me, it’s like being on the top of a mountain strapped into skis with no way down but down.

    Best of luck with your wonderful new idea!

  2. If it’s any comfort to you, I read that Jhumpa Lahiri gets really anxious before she starts a new project. She said something like all of her insecurities rush at her and go right to her fingertips. And I’ve heard many other writers say similar things. If you said you had no fears, no worries, no anxieties before starting then I’d think you was one weird chick. Write on.

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