Sep 8, 2009

Page Fright

by Valerie Ipson

Do you ever experience page fright?

If you are a writer you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. How often do we let our fears keep us from writing? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the dust rising another inch on the furniture if we don't get out the Lemon Pledge Furniture Polish and a dust cloth right now instead of writing. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this blog...Go! Now! Dust!

On another blog I read about an intriguing book by Ralph Keyes titled The Courage to Write {How Writers Transcend Fear}. It does take courage, doesn't it? Just the putting so much time and effort into a project without knowing if there will be a successful outcome is a risk in and of itself. Then there's the whole opening yourself up for critique and rejection part of it. Definitely not for the faint-of-heart.

The book deals with such topics as overcoming procrastination, dealing with anxiety over what others will think, and, this is a quote from the website, "how writers use obfuscation to soothe writing nerves." (I don't know what obfuscation means, but it sounds kind of like a procedure performed in a doctor's office involving unwarranted growths being removed from the body and not soothing at all.)

One thing Keyes recommends for overcoming fear is "joining a serious writers' group." His words. I had to laugh because after attending last summer's writing retreat one could question our seriousness. Of course, in the sense that he is speaking of, we are serious. Serious about writing and supporting each other in this risk-taking endeavor. I know that if it wasn't for the American Night Writer's Association I might have been content to write newspaper articles, Relief Society programs, and my kids' English essays (KIDDING!), never having the courage to take the plunge into novel-writing.

So stare down that blank page and show him/her whose boss. Turn your fears into positive energy that flows right onto the computer screen.

And I'll go look up obfuscation...


  1. Obfuscation:

    the concealment of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, intentionally ambiguous, and more difficult to interpret.


  2. What the...? I may have to buy this guy's book just so I can see how that can be used to help soothe writers' nerves.

    Thanks, Marielle!

  3. I could use some help in the procrastination area myself..thanks for the headsup.

  4. obfuscation? or something like that. I am going to look that one up. Interesting blog. I am going to stare that page down. If I can stare down some of the ladies I did tonight, I can stare down a page.

  5. lol...Cindy...I just had a phone call from a friend in Phoenix saying that my renter tried to burn holes through her with her eyes because her autistic child was noisy. Just don't set the page on fire!

    great post Valerie..I'm going to have to read that book!


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