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November 6, 2011

For when you get scared

Writing can be a thorny business.

I’ve been doing it for many years now. I have four completed novels behind me, a book of poetry, a book of small stones, and a book of questions.

The blank page still scares the bejesus out of me.

I sit down to write my work-in-progress and think ‘what am I doing thinking I can write? of all the deluded (mumble mumble mumble)….’

I have avoided writing poems for almost a year now.

Maybe words will leap eagerly and willingly into your laps, but if you’re like the rest of the human race you might also have occasional doubting thoughts like this. Occasional, or almost-constant.

How can we continue when we’re convinced the whole project is pointless and that everything we ever write is utter rubbish?

By taking a pen and writing a single word. And then another.

Thank your doubts kindly for their input, and continue anyway.

Reassure your critic that you WILL allow them out, when you have written for half an hour and you want to start polishing what you’ve written, but not until then.

Write another word. Write another.

Writing can be a thorny business. But then so is life.

We are all in it together. We can encourage each other. We can take comfort in the knowledge that every single writer ever has had terrible doubts about what they’re doing. We can learn how to encourage ourselves, and get better at this as we go along. We can eat chocolate.

We’ll be JUST fine.

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