Invested In Not Writing

From Dean Wesley Smith:

Amazing How Common This Is…

Basically put, writers, over time, develop a real and crippling investment in not writing. And, at the same time, often claim they want to write.

These writers cross the spectrum of types.

— Teachers who always wanted to write, teach writing, but now feel inside that they just flat don’t dare expose that they are still beginning writers at their core.

— Burnt out writers who have made writing so important (because they have had a few successes in the past) that they don’t dare write anything more. Failure is a very high platform that these writers in their minds don’t dare jump from.

— Beginning writers who talk a lot and talk a good game, but over time have become so afraid that their writing will not back up their talk, they feel that they don’t dare write. (I’ve had friends like this over the years. Sadly, they are long gone.)

— Writers (like I was for years in the 1970s) who buy into the myths of rewriting and perfection so much that after a time they don’t dare show their work because it’s not done yet, it needs one more draft, it needs one more reader, and so on. Kris talked about this writer in her Perfection book and blogs. Perfection is never attained and fear of having someone say that is crippling. (I was saved from this by Heinlein’s Rules.)

— Writers who think that they already know everything, that they don’t need to learn because it would destroy their perfect voice, flat don’t dare write much at all because for them, writing is too hard. And when writing gets hard, these type of writers back up and claim they are writing, but the book is taking years. And that magical book will never see the light of day because failure of not selling for these writers is much more damaging than the failure of not ever finishing.

— Writers who grew up afraid of what others would say. Not even writing under pen names can clear out this investment in the fear, so these writers flat don’t dare write. A single rejection, a single bad review, can turn their worlds upside down. So not writing is far, far safer.

In other words, personal history, choices, personalities, and so on often make a writer so invested in not writing, they don’t.

. . . .

(W)riters in all the above categories must learn at a deep level that nothing is ever perfect. Any story, any novel, is only the best you can do at that moment. And that is good enough.

Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith