I’ve often remarked that writers suffer from a select form of brain damage. Can you name another profession whose practitioners forget they know how to do their job? I can’t count the number of times I’ve had conversations about writing with other writers where one of us says something along the lines of “What if I — can’t finish the book/screw-up the article/never have another good idea?”
Author Ally Carter recently pinpointed the exact term for this condition in her blog. She called it The Crazies. As soon as I started reading the post, I found myself nodding along in agreement. It’s an excellent post and I recommend that you take a few moments to go read it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Right now, I’m conquering my own crazies. While I’ve freelanced for a long time and written tons of nonfiction, I’m currently writing my first nonfiction book. Never mind that it’s under contract. Never mind that it isn’t any harder than anything else I’ve done. The old what ifs have been flying around for weeks. What if I can’t hit the word count? What if I miss the deadline? What if I don’t live up to the expectations of my editor? I am not immune. I hear their voices. The Crazies.
My personal way of dealing with all the what ifs is to tune them out and get on with the business of writing. Some days it’s easier said than done, but I know if I let the crazies paralyze me, they win. I’m way too stubborn for that.
So as part of my battle, last week I buckled down and used freewriting to push my way through a crappy rough draft of the whole book. Sure the draft stinks like day-old skunk carcass, but at least now I have something to work with. *POW!* Take that Crazies!
When you have a case of The Crazies, how do you get past them?