I've been having a hard time putting into words my main takeaway from the SCBWI LA conference this past weekend.
It was from Laurie Halse Anderson's breakout session about living a creative life. She talked at length about the things we do in our personal lives that get in the way of our writing and how to manage it. This is something I really struggle with, so it was a very useful session. I'm probably going to type up some of the notes and keep them somewhere I can see them when I am wasting my very precious time farting around on the internet.
At the end of the session, as I was already feeling emotional from one of the most influential and amazing authors of our generation telling me all of the things I needed to hear about managing myself and giving myself the time I need to create, the topic of self sabotage came up.
Laurie said that we sabotage ourselves and our own progress out of fear.
And when she said that, I stopped breathing and I felt like I had been smacked and I swear, the floor opened up and swallowed me.
FEAR, you guys. FEAR.
I don't know, maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but when Laurie said this, it opened up this thing I had been holding close inside of myself, refusing to acknowledge.
I knew that there was some reason that the closer I get to finishing my WIP, the slower I go. That there was a reason that I seem to put more and more space between myself and the end of this book. I just never really thought too much about what it was or why, chalked it up to procrastination, and just kept going along at my slow pace.
But it turns out that
And the crazy thing is, I didn't even realize how scared I was. But since I left Laurie's session this past Friday, I have been on the brink of tears. I feel like I am going to have a breakdown at any given second. It's because I acknowledged the fear, I accepted that it was there, and now it is the only thing I can think about. It's like it is pulsing through my veins.
I can't shake free of it.
I'm trying to figure out WHAT I am scared of. Scared of sucking? Scared of rejection? Scared of realizing I'm not a good writer? Scared of being the only person who doesn't realize I'm not a good writer? All of these things? Something else?
I'm not sure exactly what I am scared of. I just know I am afraid down to my core. And it's keeping me from making progress.
If I don't have a completed and polished ms, I can't NOT get an agent. I can't NOT get published. I can't NOT succeed.
But I can't do those things, either.
So, I'm sort of at a crossroads right now. Last week I thought I was just a slow writer, but now I have realized that I have the FEAR. (Fear is what Laurie Halse Anderson said, but over the past few days I've spent with it, I'm realizing that it's more like BLIND TERROR.) When I was ignorant of the fear, I just kept plodding along, but now I am frozen.
I don't WANT to finish. And I am subconsciously doing things to keep myself from finishing. Because I'm scared.
I need to get over it. I need to face it and kick it in the balls and run past it when it's writhing around on the ground clutching its crotch.
I can't let it stop me.
But did I mention that it is more like BLIND TERROR? That shit is scary, yo.
So here I am, trying to figure myself out. Trying not to cry. Trying not to let it keep me from doing what I want to do.
But I don't know how to proceed.
Have any of you faced this? How do you deal? I really need to know what to do here.