Last updated on 5 January 2018
Writing. One of my biggest fears.
My problem: I expect way too much from myself. I have high expectations. I am highly critical of myself. I only expect the best. Nothing less.
Right now I’m at a stage of (not) writing my last assessment piece for the semester. I’m paralysed. Hit a wall. I just want to escape it all and have it submitted already. But that can’t happen.
To varying degrees, depending on how important the piece is, I go through this agony every single time.
Not that I wish to blame someone else for my fear, but it does stem from my experiences in my senior year in high school – an English teacher who never liked my writing. Every time I wrote there was something dramatically wrong with it. Every. Single. Time. Red pen all over, the 100 questions about why I wrote something the way I did, and him telling me how much I complicated my sentences, tried to be ‘tricky’ and how I didn’t answer the assignment question HIS WAY. My entire senior year in English was spent trying so hard to produce a ‘perfect’ piece of writing at first attempt. My confidence in my ideas and writing plummeted. I’ve come to dread every major piece of writing I have to complete. I’m absolutely terrified.
There’s that saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. I guess my experience was supposed to improve my writing? Perhaps. But doesn’t mean it improved my approach or attitude towards writing.
Throughout university (under-graduate degree) and right up until now, I’ve struggled to find ways to make writing easier for myself. Always looking for tips, tricks and a ‘magical’ method that would turn my writing into brilliance. I’ve gone through books and starred many blog posts. I’ve discovered while many tips are helpful, they’re only as helpful as to the extent to which you use them, and that means actually writing.
To overcome my fear, at the start of this year I decided to make writing a priority. I started this blog. I knew that if I wanted to improve my writing and re-gain confidence in myself, I needed to practice, practice and practice some more. One thing that has stuck in my mind is what a member of academic staff at QUT once said at a workshop – if you don’t have time for something, it means its not a priority. I’ve since adopted the approach to every habit I’ve wanted to change and skill I’ve wanted to acquire. I want to acquire great writing skills. I make time for it. Simple.
Why do I want great writing skills? To communicate my ideas and thoughts well enough for others to understand. I have noteworthy thoughts, knowledge and ideas in my head but I’d like to get better at communicating them. Improving my writing through practice will benefit me professionally in the long term.
There is no cure for a fear of writing, only treatment. Treatment can be in the form of: –
- practice combined with consultation of self-help books for writing, and
- practice with a certain favourable beverage.
Here are some resources from my “starred” items in my Google Reader: –
- Another way to write 1000 words in a day? – The Thesis Whisperer
- 10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly – The Chronicle of Higher Education
I’m sure there are more, but I think I must get back to (attempting) writing my assessment piece…..