Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I Used to Fear My Computer Monitor

Way back when I first started writing (in 1994), I was fairly new to computers. I was an English major in college, but I stubbornly refused to learn the computer. I wrote about a million papers using a typewriter and gallons of white-out (shudder) until my computer-science major fiance forced me into using the computer. I couldn't believe I had waited so long. That sure made my last semester of college easier.

But a couple of years later when I started writing in earnest, I would sit at our computer and the monitor would loom over me, just daring me to put words on the screen. Mocking me. Scaring me. I think it was like a 16" monitor or something, but to me it was giant. I remember my husband wanting to get a bigger monitor and I about fainted at the thought. (Yeah, no wonder I switched to writing by hand.)

Of course, the monitor was only the embodiment of what I really feared. What I really feared was the writing itself. Would I be good enough? Would anyone want to read my words? Were my ideas all stupid?

I didn't have much idea what I was doing when I started. I jumped right from critical essays into fiction. No wonder it was frightening.

Elana Johnson talks to today about the bravery it takes to write. That's so true. It's often a scary proposition. So many unknowns, so many doubts, so many fears. The only thing for it is to jump in and do it.

That's what I did. And now that I've been doing it for so long, I find those fears don't plague me so much anymore. I have a lot more confidence. Yes, I still doubt. Yes, I still have fears. But having been brave so many times in the past, my courage much easier to find now.

My advice for anyone out there who fears their monitor (or whatever it is that represents that fear for you), is to take a deep breath and just do it!

Have you ever had to overcome your fears?


Krista said...

I (like every writer) put a whole lot of myself into my writing. So for a long time I was afraid to have people read my novel. (It was still in progress so I had that excuse too.) I have this fear that people will see right through my reading into the very depths of my soul... and be disgusted.

And then I finished my novel. Took a deep breath. And emailed it to 8 friends and family members. And you know what. They like it - and they don't think less of me because my writing isn't perfect.

Just goes to show you - some times the things you are afraid of, aren't really that scary at all.

tiffany said...

thanks for shareing very inspiering

Angie said...

You're right, Krista. That takes a LOT of courage. Good for you!

Thanks, T. =)

AstonWest said...

I only fear the fears which are backed up by circumstances...rejections, low sales figures, etc.

Angie said...

I know, Todd. Those things stink! I fear them too. But we just gotta push forward anyway, huh?

Rochelle said...

I'm fighting the fear that I won't be able to express myself and the things I want to share in my writing. I've been growing more aware of how important and weighty words are, and the thought of misusing a word frightens me. But that doesn't stop me from thinking the words and playing with them. Someday, I'll find my niche, and the words will flow.

dellgirl said...

Very interesting take on the "fear factor"...I like how you presented this. It really makes me think!

Aubrie said...

The blank screen is definitely intimidating.

I fear bad reviews more than anything else. :(

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I certainly have a lot of fears about a lot of things, and it can be very overwhelming! I think how I get over them is to turn them into something positive. It's usually the only way, but that is so hard to do sometimes. Can't ever stop trying, though, or I'd live under my bed. :)

ali said...

*deep breath* I can do it! I can be brave!

Thanks Angie :)

Angie said...

Keep going, Rochelle. You'll find your niche!

Thanks, Dellgirl. I always appreciate your sweet comments!

Aubrie, don't fear the bad reviews. Just focus on the good ones! (I fear them too.)

Thanks for the comments everyone. I so appreciate your support of my blog.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Fear seems to be the biggest challenge for me as a writer - fear and doubt combined - that same "Am I good enough? Do my ideas matter? Are my stories all wooden rehashes of other stories?"

Daily writing practice gets me through. Just every day. Even if it's a list poem, or a journal entry, a blog, and then a story. Stories are hardest for me - I want them to be PERFECT all the time - and they just aren't in rough draft form.

Angie said...

Tyrean, I think it's great that you write something everyday. I know what you mean about stories. I always want mine perfect the first time too. I have just had to accept that they won't be and that's okay. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Now that I'm contracted, I had to face my biggest writerly fear. "What if I publish a bad book?"

It's easier with the first book--that one wasn't written on deadline. But I've found that I can't listen to the fear about publishing a bad book, or I simply won't be able to write. The answer to the fearful question is: "Then I publish a bad book, and stay humble." :-)

Angela Felsted said...

I write almost every day, but I'm still afraid of it. How sad is that?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Twice now! And since everyone wants a trilogy, guess I'll have to conquer it once more.

Angie said...

That's a great attitude, Rosslyn. I'm pretty sure you won't publish a bad book, though. Thanks for stopping by! =)

Brenda Susan said...

The blank screen is scary but I try to picture it filled before I turn it on and then begin tapping away immediately. Ideas come as I do stuff at home or lie in bed at night so I am anxious to get to the computer by the time I am able to.

I love your blog, sorry I don't comment more.