52 weeks of writing prompts in Barbara Abercrombie's A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragementand I'm tackling them all!
Week 1: What is your own metaphor for fear of writing that first line?
(Or at least what I imagine the act of skydiving feels like. I haven't done it myself - perhaps out of indifference but more likely because of fear and an aversion to the high price tag - but let's not get into that now. This is about the metaphor.)
Writing is like skydiving. You have an idea - a concept that you think you'll enjoy writing. The desire to explore that idea is strong enough to get you onto the plane. Maybe you've even hopped on before, so you have a bit of bravado. In any case, before you can have a second thought, you're on board. Pen in hand, blank page open.
The plane takes off, and that is the moment it starts - the panic, the doubt, the fear. It doesn't creep in slowly as you lift off the ground. It hits you instantly and forcefully in the chest, like the boot of an MMA fighter on steroids. What the hell am I doing? Why did I ever in a million years think I could do this? How do I get off this God forsaken plane and back on the ground where it's calm and safe?!
A plane ride to the proper skydiving altitude probably takes at least thirty minutes, but for a writer, these feelings come in powerfully and at a terrifying decibel in the nanoseconds after grasping a pen or opening a laptop. It's instantaneous and debilitating.
Me? I hold on to my faith. Faith in myself, faith in my ability, and faith that I learn every time I write. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I've jumped before and survived. I can certainly dive off one more time. Why should this be the day that stops me?
I stuff down the fear and I write. I let go of needing it to be elegant and graceful and I just do it. My penmanship is atrocious and there are scribbles everywhere, but I don't care.