Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

I am a writer.

There. I said it. It has taken me most of the past year to be comfortable uttering that sentence out loud when someone asks me what I do. Of course, right after that comes the inevitable, "Really! What have you published?" To which I must sheepishly reply, "Oh, I'm not published, unless you count my blog. Nor am I paid to write. Yet. But the process of getting there is fun."

Sort of.

See, my creative juices, if you will, come in fits and bursts, which is downright annoying. Like, last summer: I sat in my driveway, keeping an eye on the kiddos as they played outside, while hunched over my then ancient laptop, furiously typing away on this totally awesome novel for the 8-12 year old set. Seriously, the ideas came faster than I could type them, so I ended up ditching the computer entirely and scribbling just as furiously in a notebook. Later on, I would type it all in and do edits, then keep repeating the process the next day, and the next day, and the next. I had a good three to four weeks of that kind of energy. Then, WHAM! Hit with a great big wall of nuthin'. I was barely into the story - maybe six chapters or so, and then could not for the life of me coax the rest of the story out. I knew what I wanted to say (still do) but the words were holding out on me.

So, that story lurks in my subconscious, churning around while I work on manuscript number 2. This one also seems to have the right stuff, and my critique group has had great things to say so far. While I've had a better time of it this go 'round, it's still not the steady stream of creativity I keep hoping for. It's more like three or four days of furious scribbling and typing, then a week (or two) of nuthin'. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

However, the blogging is coming along fairly regularly, and I haven't yet run out of ideas, so perhaps my steady stream of creativity in the novel department is just a bit of a late bloomer. We shall see.

In the meantime, I have compiled a list for those like me who are riding the (hopefully) temporary Creative Roller Coaster. So, here ya go - a big 'ol list for you to pick and choose from, so you can finally have a name (or names) for what literarily ails ye:

Writer's Fears Excuse List: 
Plausible Explanations for One's (Temporary) Creative Deficits

Papyrophobia - fear of paper (Ahh - the ominous blank page...)

Bibliophobia - fear of books (Whoa! This may be quite a roadblock in your path to novel-dom.)

Ideophobia - fear of ideas ('nuff said...)

Phronemophobia - fear of thinking (I think a lot of us could use this one!)

Verbophobia - fear of words (Quite a hindrance for a writer.)

Graphophobia - fear of writing (The BIG one!)

Catagelophobia - fear of being ridiculed (Hey! It's like that time I dreamed I showed up at school in my undies, and then everybody laughed at me, and then - oh... nevermind...that was no dream...)

Neophobia - fear of anything new (Yeah...)

Atychiphobia - fear of failure (Oh, yeah...)

Prosophobia - fear of progress (Hmmmm)

Euphobia - fear of hearing good news (What? They like my story? Eeeeeek!)

Leukophobia - fear of the color white (Perhaps buying pink paper, instead? Oooh! Or how about baby blue? That's a nice, non-threatening color...)

Melanophobia - fear of the color black (Try the magenta font color, instead. Pretty, no?)

Mythophobia - fear of making false statements (The most unfortunate James Frey hullabaloo comes to mind...)

Rhabdophobia - fear of being severely criticized (...by Oprah. On LIVE TV...)

Catagelophobia - fear of being ridiculed (...by Oprah. On LIVE TV...)

Liticaphobia - fear of lawsuits (...and of watching your memoir author creds break up into A Million Little Pieces...)
Metrophobia - fear of poetry (Solution: switch to prose. Hey, it worked for Megan McDonald ...Well, she didn't have a fear of poetry - but her college prof did tell her to go home and rip up all her poetry, 'cause she was a prose writer... How's that for brutal honesty?)


  1. As a fellow writer, I loved this posting. :) Thanks for making me laugh...and giving me some cool 'fancy' excuses to throw around the next time people ask me how my book is coming along. lol

  2. Right on, sistah! I can identify.

    Have you read "The Artist's Way?" I have, and fitfully followed some of the exercises. I have a feeling that it would help if I actually committed to it. Meanwhile, writing a blog has caused me to be a lot more accountable for writing almost daily, which I have been trying to do for years, and haven't managed until the blog.

    As for ideas, some days I could write pages and pages, and other days I fear I have nothing. But I actually always do have something lurking about if I ask myself for it nicely.

  3. It's taken me about 2 years to get to Chapter 3 of my novel...and the last year or so I've done almost nothing...I discovered eBay and blogging, kinda 'side-tracked' me!
    (Or are they just another means to procrastinate?!)

    But, seriously, folks...I don't want to write if I'm not going to enjoy it, at least some of the time, so I don't always push myself, and I don't worry about it...and then one day I just start writing again, and it kicks in. Other times, I do push myself, and sometimes that works, too!

    Also, I've read that writer's block often indicates fear of, or anger about something. In some cases. But a person may not necessarily realize that, or be consciously aware of it.

  4. Kathi: I have not read "The Artist's Way," but I'll definitely look for it. Blogging has gotten me in the more regular writing habit, too. (Plus, it's fun!)

    Beth: I aim to please! Glad I could give you a giggle!

    Christina: You sound so comfortable in your writing skin. I'm trying to get there...


So, what's on your mind?