Fear is the mind killer

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.  Dune

It is very interesting to me how much fear or more accurately “being scared” is creeping into this whole writing thing.

I am trying very hard, well trying, at least, to follow what I identify as the common advice given to first time writers. Some of the them I have outlined. The one not covered is being scared.

At 54, I find myself carefully protecting my persona from injury, both physically and mentally. Trying to be an author, for me, requires a great deal of exposure, of personnel honesty, of being able to let myself be criticized; to open myself to being wounded, hurt.

The most frightening path I have gone down (so far) is to attend a local writer’s group meeting. Very frightening. All these people are writers, whereas I am not…

I went to the public library where the meeting was to be held. The Librarian said to me, “Go through the door marked exit.” I laughed.

She wasn’t kidding, going through the door marked exit were 12 other individuals. I was late because I was scared of being early, I am normally early. 12 heads turned, 12 pairs of eyes turned to look at me…

It was a great meeting for me. I don’t know if it was just the giddiness of being near other writers or how impressed I was by all of them or just that I was meeting new people for the first time in a long time, but it was a very energizing night.

The most surprising part of the night was how well all of the people there read. Hearing all the the different voices reading the short 2 or 3 paragraphs from a writing prompt was amazing.

I did not expect to listen to such a great group of readers, orators. Changing their tone and emphasis as the read the story, so different from their normal speaking voice. Charming and enlightening.

Will I go to a second meeting ? I think so. My biggest concern is that they are all so good, and I am such hack. What can I contribute to the group? Oddly enough in my ongoing reading about writing I came across a small bit on the writing of George Orwell:

from http://www.chrismoriartybooks.com/writing.html

“If you think I’m joking, go find a biography of George Orwell and read the stuff he was writing when he was twenty- five. It sucked. In fact, it was so awful that thirty years after his death his friends and relations were still struggling to figure out how an average kid with no talent at all turned into one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.”

I will never be a writer like Orwell, that is not my intent, nor do I have that talent. My goal is to write a complete  novel, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t even have to be considered “good”. As long as I finish it and it is a novel.

Be Well – dcd