Today’s Demon (Fear of Writing) – A new meet and greet

So I have a few friends, probably a few dozen really, that are often labeled demons. While, it’s true, they are demons, yet after a lifetime of hanging out with them, they have in some respects, become friends – it was this or death so… I chose friendship.

I decided that I would share my demons, here and there, so you could get to know them – and me I suppose.

Today’s Demon is… Fear of Writing.

This demon has been a rather constant companion since I was about 9, when I first decided I wanted to write, and share, my story. Not long before this decision, when I turned 9, I realized that if I could survive the first 9 years of my life, I could survive another 9 years no problem. Months later standing out in the backyard, climbing around the not so sturdy tree and bushes, I came upon the realization that others should know they can survive as well.

Now it’s… 25 years later and I’m barely writing, just beginning to share further about ALL of the details, realizing the Fear of Writing Demon was, and still is, superbly strong.

I think she first came to visit as a guest of my mothers, who was in college to become a journalist when I came in to her life, and her sense, her feeling, that she gave up a writing career to juggle the details of being a single mom was always there. She would try to share with me the way a writer “should” write, a journalist writer perhaps, always with the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How.

Well, shit. At 9 getting caught up in the “details” is where I lose my focus, and for decades after. Striving for some perfection in How I phrase it, Who I’m speaking to or referring to, What I’m talking about (sometimes I lose the thread), Why I feel I must share, etc. etc. And then often the Worthiness Demons voice pops in (now that demon is a jerk), like I needed assistance with this..

Then, when I was 13, while visiting family out of state, my Grandmother was watching me write a letter home. She was quite inebriated (alcohol is a huge (demon) visitor in my life story) and made a comment about my handwriting being terrible. My Grandmother is a prolific writer, and I’ve always loved the way her handwriting looks on the page. So this? Was akin to a judgement from God.

Now I don’t just feel like I can’t write the subject at hand perfectly, but it, apparently, also looks like shit too.

Wonderful.

Somehow I managed to write journals from about 15-18, here and there. But my poetry river ran dry, my letters to friends & family were shorter, even my dreams slowly faded, and every time I picked up the pen… I felt sick. Guilty, Terrified, because I? Was not a worthy writer.

It really didn’t matter that people asked to read my writings, that they missed my letters, that writing down the pieces of my life might have helped me put them back together..

I would even rewrite post it notes at work, 5, 6 times, JUST to get my handwriting a little clearer, softer. I would take HOURS to write an email that was a mere paragraph or two because I would write, rewrite, read, adjust, endlessly to be sure it sounded perfect, wasn’t too offensive, made sense (OMG what if it doesn’t make sense?!), clearly stated without being emotional, whatever message I was trying to get through in this email.. it had to be perfect.

And I would fret for hours, even days, that my writing – even a meeting request to the team, was being criticized and unliked.

How the Frick did I make it out of that mess, sometimes I wonder.

Well, really I think it was my cats and my dreams and … moving away from the chaos. But 90% is probably my dreams. About 3 years ago I began to have vivid, clear dreams that were expressing a need for me to change my life, my reaction to life and my approach to my very soul. I started writing them down because I knew, I wanted to remember them, I needed a record of these images and messages. So I’d begin to write on every scrap of paper I could find, and eventually moved to the collection of journals I’d amassed (I knew I wanted to write, but the journals remained blank for years, sitting there, taunting me).

Though now that I look back, perhaps I was simply gathering the journals, preparing for the return of my dreams.

And as I wrote my dreams, often from a state of half sleep, down in to books no one else would read, or judge. Only able to write down what I could recall, and not have to worry about details that just didn’t surface, my dreams and my writing, flourished.

My fear of writing diminished.

I’d tried to follow other authors suggestions on how to get through what I believed to be “writers block”, none of it stuck, none of it fit. I love Julia Camerons the Artists Way, and her subsequent books, but even this approach was akin to taking a toothpick to a brick wall and trying to break it down. It wasn’t the right tool for me.

So my dreams stepped in, and as I began to realize that the demon was really just afraid, as most demons are, and in letting go of the fear, of accepting that as others have shared their fears, their history, their pain and sorrow, their joy and light, their fear of writing, speaking, and doing so in THEIR own way of doing it – and loving to read their books, stories, blogs, letters.. that I could share mine.

And that I would live, I would survive. I might even thrive.

Fear of Writing now has very little to feed on. I see posts on FB, Twitter and elsewhere online and I realize my writing? My Grammar? Is actually not that bad… and the way I write?

It’s mine.

It’s my voice, it’s my soul. And it’s beautiful.

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