It was about six months ago when I started having grave doubts about my abilities as a writer. Before that time, I thought I had a fleeting shot at getting a book published. Yet, in spite of the distress I felt every time I sat at my desk, I continued to write my blog posts and drudge along with my work-in-progress.
I would stare at my project on the screen in front of me wondering if my ability was real or was I just deluding myself. Was anything I wrote worth reading? Judging from what was glaring back at me, I would assess with the answer, “No.”
When it comes to my blog, I have thought the same on a regular basis. Yet, I will not give it up for the simple reason of loving to write. Maybe there are not many people reading my posts but I know there are, at least, a few.
I asked myself, “Why are you putting yourself through this torture? You would have a better chance succeeding as an oil driller or an opera singer.”
I, finally, would close the file lying dormant on the screen and walked out of the room. This was not to say I was defeated. No way was I going to give up. I am much too obstinate for that. I was merely frustrated to the point of being complete thwarted. My mind could not handle the obstructions of my poorly lacking of creativity for one more minute–for the time being.
It was later that I took the time to scrutinize the deficiency I saw in myself and why I kept beating myself up trying to be a writer. Why, in heaven’s name, would a person keep trying to write something totally creative when she does not have any imaginative talent?
Realistically, I do have some creative talent, although I do not have the kind where I can start from scratch. I can take facts and embellish them or put them in a different light, even to the point where a person cannot see the facts sometimes, although I usually feel like I have done harm to the piece and to myself in those cases.
This is different from a purely imaginative mind, which many successful writers have. They can take a setting and some dialogue and, magically, turn it into an original 90,000-word novel. This certainly is not me. I need a basis of a whole story that I can manipulate and twist around into my own original 65,000-word novel. [Notice the difference in the number of words.] Even with all the altering I might accomplish, I would want the original story to peek through. Why? I believe that story [whichever one it is] is one of a kind and needs to be presented for reading. Is this creative non-fiction? I have no idea. It is something I need to research during the next few months while the leaves change and fall from the trees.
Are my inabilities with original imaginary ideas an indicator saying I probably have what is known as Creative Fear? Creative Fear, according to Angela Ackerman is as follows:
“The fear of how our writing will be received can become so crippling that it stops us in our tracks … often before we even put figurative/literal pen to paper. Instead of working hard and worrying about reception later, you spend minutes or hours or days fretting about what “people” will think when they read your work.” ~Writers Helping Writers
When it comes to creating a worthwhile story that is completely fresh and distinctive, I, honestly, do not think I have it in me. Is this creative fear? Possibly. There is a chance I am, somehow, blocking myself from delving into the truly creative part of my mind. Maybe this is why I was a “rebel” when I was in high school instead of being a “wild child”. Maybe I am obsessed with control to the point where it involves how my brain processes all I do at a keyboard. The thought of letting go of control seems beyond possibility to me.
I am relatively certain I am not the only one like this. Although there may not be many writers with this problem of perceptive anguish, I cannot fathom being the only writer who stops herself subconsciously from creating pieces that she could be proud of.
Do you have perceptive anguish?