When I was younger, I used to freeze up whenever I talked to a girl I liked. My shrink would tell me that it was because I always got ahead of myself. After one conversation, I already had a ring on her finger.
He told me to take each moment as it came. A pipe was just a pipe, he’d say. A conversation was just a conversation. And sometimes, even sex was just sex.
We’d discuss the same thing with my writing. Although I’d shown an aptitude and love of writing when I was very young, I used to freeze up whenever I sat down to write. He’d say that it was a similar thing to talking to girls. I was getting ahead of myself.
Whenever I’d sit down to write I could already hear the reviewers praising my work as I typed the words.
My shrink would say that speaking and writing are unconscious activities. In the same way, that if we focus too much on the mechanics of walking we start to stumble, if we obsess on the words we say or write, we can lose our ability to speak or write them as easily.
I couldn’t just stop getting over excited and anxious about writing, so I used to have to play a trick on myself. I’d have one piece, which was my magnum opus, where I’d sweat over every word. Then I’d have one that I just did for fun.
Obviously, the one I did for fun would get published and my magnum opus would get ignored. Now when I read over the latter piece, it reads as if I was trying way too hard.
I can feel it starting to happen again. Although my book doesn’t come out for six months, I’m already starting to get anxious about it. I find that I get more anxious when I sit around day dreaming about all the wonderful things that may occur. I figure I’m setting my future too high and giving myself something to lose —a fantasy.
This makes writing a little harder. I’ve gotten a good start on my second book and I’m happy with how it’s going. But there are nagging doubts about the voice, or the plot or whatever. As happened with the last book, I know I need to give it time, workshop as much as I can and just try to enjoy the writing process.
I’m trying to stop day dreaming. Yet, I keep asking myself if I really want to drain all the anticipation from life events. Is being nervous and excited about something really such a bad thing?
I guess it is if it freezes me up, makes me anxious and stops me from enjoying what’s happening now. But maybe I should keep reminding myself that it’s just a fantasy and enjoy my daydreams for what they are.