Spiders, Puppies, G&T…oh my!
Courtesy of my anxiety I have many fears and phobias, including:
– Dogs (including puppies)
– Humanity in general
– Watership Down
– Gin and Tonic
– People reading my writing
Every time I go to publish a blog I’m overwhelmed with a terrifying fear of people reading what I’ve written. In those moments between hovering the mouse over the ‘publish’ button and clicking the button my mind races with the tens of millions of possible reactions the post could receive; will I be humiliating myself, will people laugh, will they think I’m insane, will they hate me with an intense and fiery passion, will they want to tie me to a chair and force me to watch Watership Down with a small puppy on my lap as punishment for inflicting such dross on them?
And then I click the button and sit in fear.
Sometimes nothing happens.
Sometimes people accidentally click the ‘like’ button.
Sometimes people seem to mistake my blog for someone else’s and leave praise worthy comments.
Always that endless, all-consuming fear that I’m no good, that I should have stopped writing in primary school because my abuser told me I was a pathetic, worthless writer who had nothing interesting or unique to say. Which I know is absolute horse shit! But the trauma is deep and it’s this trauma that dictates my fears and holds me back!
I KNOW I’m a good writer because I’ve been published and a publisher would have to be stoned to publish someone who can’t write!
I KNOW I’m a good writer because…well, look at this blog. It’s pretty awesome :)
Yet the fear persists…
…especially when it comes to my fictional writing!
It was this fear that drove me to use a pseudonym when I was published in 2009. If it succeeded, I could bask in the glory without anyone making me the center of attention. If it failed, I could scurry back into my shell safe in the knowledge that no-one would know the words were mine!
It is this fear that has been blocking my creative writing for so many years; locking me into the endless cycle of frustration over not being able to do something that has brought me pleasure for more years than I care to remember. So, when it came to organizing the posts for this week, I knew I had to tackle one of the biggest barriers on my road to recovery; my fear of my writing.
And the only way to tackle such an obstacle is to challenge it head on!
In the early hours of last Thursday I happened upon just the way to do this: a flash fiction novel!
When I began writing this blog again in May 2012 I started a 365 Day Blog Challenge. This challenge failed less than two months later but I have never forgotten the list of ‘goals’ I had to write for the year ahead. Nestled amidst break the isolation I’ve found myself in and watch ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Hobbit’ in the cinema was an item so epic in its ambition I think I slipped it in there as a means of self-sabotage; a sure-fire way to guarantee my failure:
Given it had taken me nearly ten years to write a readable final draft of The Ghosts That Haunt Me, it seems inconceivable that I would knock off a novel in a mere 365 days – especially given my mental instability and lack of professional support to achieve such a desired state.
Yet, what better way to send the ghosts of the past to the naughty corner than proving to myself I can do what I set out to do?
Cue me deciding to write a flash fiction version of this novel whilst lost in some insomniacal state!
And yet, when I think about it, it’s a win-win situation; even if it failed spectacularly I would still be writing fiction again, plus, even if people hate it, how many flash fiction novels have they ever written?
So, I accepted my challenge in a heartbeat.
For those of you who don’t know what Flash Fiction is, the idea behind this writing style is to sit down for an allotted period of time, write a story on the fly, edit it, then post it for the whole world to see.
In adapting this concept to novel form, I will sit down for an allotted period of time, write part of the story on the fly, edit it, then post it for the whole world to see. Repeat each week until the novel is finished.
All of which makes the rules quite simple:
1. There is to be no brainstorming, notepad keeping or planning outside of my own head.
2. Each week I will write for three hours (either in one block or across several days).
3. The only overflow of this time allowed will be if I get caught up in a sequence, which I will continue to write until a suitable moment to end the session presents itself.
4. After writing I will edit that section (no revising the plot of previously posted segments) for grammar, spelling, content etc.
5. I will then post the update for people to read, should they so desire.
Will it work?
Who the hell knows?
Am I scared?
I haven’t really written fiction for years, so to say I’m rusty would be an understatement. Factor in my intense fear of sharing my work even years after refinement and my decision to do this novel ‘on the fly’…yep, I’m positively terrified.
But if I am to stand any chance of demolishing these roadblocks to secure a better future for myself, I must face my fears any way I can.
For what’s the point of living if we don’t stand up to what scares us?
Should you wish to read along…
New installments of this flash fiction novel will be published every Friday, 8pm AEST (Starting 26 October 2012)