Wednesday, November 7, 2012

[Link] “What if nobody likes it?”: On Writing and Self-Doubt

by Brian Keene

Last week on Twitter, Steve Melnick asked me if I had any advice regarding writer’s block based on a lack of confidence. His concern that people might not like his writing was preventing him from writing. I told him I did have advice, but it wasn’t something that would fit into a Tweet, so I’d write a Blog entry instead. So I have.

I should start by recapping my assertion that there is no such thing as writer’s block. Writer’s block is a convenient term we use simply because “I don’t feel like writing” sounds less palatable.

I used to work in a foundry, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and books were still sold in bookstores. I held many positions at that foundry, one of which was operating a mold making machine. During my daily eight-hour shift, I was expected to make a certain number of molds. If I completed this task, I got a paycheck at the end of the week. If I didn’t complete this task, then I got fired and had to find another job.

I’ve always approached writing the same way. Whether I’ve got an hour to write each day or eight hours each day, I’ve always envisioned my words as part of the assembly line. I have to produce X amount of them each day, or I’ll get fired and have to find another job. And since I haven’t had another job in over 15 years, I’m pretty sure I’d have trouble getting hired somewhere else, so it’s doubly important I keep this writing gig.

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