Fear of the Unknown

My husband flew out of state for work and will be gone a month.  Last night we stayed at a nice hotel near the airport and ate out, which is a rarity for us.  We didn’t recognize half of the things so artfully displayed on our plates.  And when my husband left in the dark wee hours this morning, I stayed in the hotel until checkout time.  (After all, we paid a lot for those hours!)  I took advantage of the quiet, alone-ness, and lack of distraction, to work on writing.

In the past I have been a very organic writer.  The idea flows in, usually following a ‘what if’ question, and off I go, along for the ride the characters take me on.  There’s a reason I called this blog the story river, and it’s not because I outline in detail.  I usually know the very ending before I know the story, as if I picture this final dramatic moment, and then backtrack to figure out how to get there.  Admittedly I feel guilty that I don’t outline, but when I try to, the story dies, as if the story feels that since it’s been told in outline form it doesn’t need me anymore.

Back at the hotel this morning though, I sat very fearfully in front of the computer and only managed two short paragraphs.  I can feel the arcs of this story, like soft wool I need to spin into threads.  I can see how I want it to be.  In the past, right now, I’d be deep in that world, writing furiously.  Instead I’m approaching the words way too tentatively.

The oncologist told me the creative side of me wasn’t killed in radiation, and I believe him because I do see writing coming back, and this blog has helped tremendously with that.  However, it’s one thing to rather timidly approach a blog of a few paragraphs, and another to take on a novel.  I am horribly afraid that if I start I will find the writer has not been resurrected after all.  I am horribly afraid that if I don’t start, something that is extremely important to me might never come back.

I don’t know where this particular story river is going to take me, but I’m beginning to think that I’m thinking too much.  It might be time to open up my arms and tell the characters, ‘possess me, whisper your story to me’ and just pick up the damn pen.

8 thoughts on “Fear of the Unknown

  1. I hear your fear about the quiet of your pen (keyboard) today. You are not your fear. Take deep breaths and get your brain out of your way… the words will come.

  2. I didn’t find my way to this post until today. You’re echoing some of what I’m feeling at this moment. I don’t outline either, and I feel better about it now because I also feel like my stories kind of lie there after I do that, like they don’t care if they’re told in detail anymore. I’ve got so many storytelling irons in the fire, so to speak, that I’m also feeling some fear. I’ve got to remember Lisa H.’s line, too. I need my brain to get out of my way. That and a couple night’s of good sleep.

    I hope you start hearing those whispers again soon, I’m pretty sure they’re still there.

    • I’m spread way too thin with my writing, and the children’s story I’m trying to finish (the deadline is the 15th) even though it’s a contest, is my only opportunity to make money and have my work looked at by a publisher. I can’t not try, and I’m afraid to fail again. I’m walking that tightrope between doing my best and being original, and making sure I don’t wander too far off the beaten path for the sponsor. And I don’t have a net. I also think years of not sleeping well makes me too sensitive. I’m sorry. Maybe this is TMI. This is a really bad day for me.

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