Guestapostophobia (The Fear of Writing Guest Posts)

 

 

I was going to write an awesome guest post.

It was going to be spectacular.

Then I sat down to write.

It turned out to be a post about writing posts. I couldn’t believe it. And it was bad.

I don’t have trouble writing posts for my blog. They’re pretty easy. In fact, I write them in my head all the time like some crazed commentator.

Then I tried to write for someone else’s blog. This caused much panic, self-doubt, writer’s block, and a small amount of sweating, which shall collectively and henceforth be known as SEBS (Someone Else’s Blog Syndrome). SEBS can range from mild to severe.

Cure?

Just type.

If you’ve been offered a guest post, go for it. If you follow someone who has a guest series, ask about it. You might even write something great. But, hey, if it’s bad, that’s okay, too. Move on.

If it really sucks, well…you’ll make a lot of people happy. Because they’ll think, “Wow, that stinks. I could write a post so much better than that.” And they will. And they’ll submit it and guest post. See? You’ve helped a fellow blogger or two. Doesn’t that make you happy?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Have you written any guest posts? Do you develop SEBS? Is it just me or is writing a guest post more difficult than writing your own?

 

* Look at the photo again. Sure, the pink flowers seem pretty…until you stick your face close to them and realize there’s a spider sunbathing inches from your nose. That’s my photographic metaphor for writing a guest post.

 

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Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

 

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It’s been one year since I quit writing.

When I posted about this, it was heart-breaking.

I cried.

I regretted sharing my decision.

Then I realized how much I needed to post it. To feel it. To publicly admit it.

Here’s the thing. The biggie. I’ve “quit” writing before but I’ve never really quit.

I’ve had a meltdown over a story or a freak-out about my computer crashing (save your work!) or stopped writing out of frustration because I’d been interrupted for the fifteenth time. I’ve had writer’s block, run short on time, gotten sick, had self-doubt… You name it.

I’ve thrown my hands up and shouted, “I quit!”

Those are probably relatable to most writers. There is always something trying to block your way, drain your energy, waste your time, or stifle your creativity.

But when I wrote that post, I well and truly quit.

When I published that post, something inside me shifted.

This wasn’t a writer’s temper tantrum. This was me letting go of my dream. I waited two whole agonizing months to return.

Though, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a long time, it felt like forever.

I thought about losing the creative outlet I’d been using since I was nine years old. I thought about flash and writing prompts and how much I’d miss those. But, honestly, what I thought about most was the fact that the characters in my novels would never finish telling me their stories. I thought about the fact that I would never write another word about these people.

I cried. Again.

 

Truth is, I was in a bad spot and thought quitting writing would take some pressure off. I thought it would give me more time and energy to deal with the crap. What I found was, by taking writing away, I was less able to deal with things.

You know what? I am overwhelmed. I do have a lot going on. There are shitty things happening.

There were a year ago and there still are today.

I did need a break, but not from writing.

I thought my life demanded I let go of my dream. I thought I had to kill a piece of myself, to make room for a new piece—one that could deal with all of the drama, chaos, and responsibilities. But it broke my spirit when I quit.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved putting pencil to paper and creating stories. I’ve always known writing is part of me. It’s not that I discovered this last year, it’s that I got a reality slap. A reminder that I need writing. Not just that I love it—I need it.

I had to feel this, really feel this loss, to fully appreciate how much I needed it.

I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

 

 

The fact that I quit writing played a big part in the publishing of Hinting at Shadows. One year ago I stopped writing and, almost exactly one year later, I am a newly published author. Of a book that I love. One that I’m proud of. One that shows we never know what the future holds. One that proves we cannot bury our dreams.

 

Have you ever given up, quit, or let go of something you loved? Did this hurt or help you? Or both? Did you ever return to what you left?

 

Rejected Book Intros

 

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I mentioned my little issue with writing an author bio and how I quickly fixed that by blurting some silly thoughts out and going with it.

I didn’t want to work too hard on it or let it drive me batty—which it right could have. Also, I knew that no matter how much time I spent on it (10 minutes or 10 months), I’d likely look back at it and cringe. So, I chose the 10-minute cringe.

My introduction was a different bowl of spaghetti. Holy meatballs, Batman, that thing did drive me crazy. And I didn’t listen to my own advice (no surprise there) about the bio.

I spent time (much time) and energy (lots of energy) on the introduction. During this time of lunacy when I was alienating friends and forcing family to disown me, I came up with some real doozies.

The following introductions are real. They were not written for your amusement. But I thought I would share them with you in case you are amused. It’s okay, you can totally be embarrassed for me.

 

  • I like writing. I don’t like spiders. I made a book. Read it.
  • I think I’d rather become dinner for the Swamp Thing than continue working on this foreword. Which is ridiculous because the Swamp Thing protects people (and is probably a vegetarian).
  • Short fiction is like dark chocolate. It’s pure cocoa with no fillers. A small piece is rich and satisfying.
  • I don’t like writing bios, forewords, or introductions. Actually, I don’t care for anything that requires me to tell readers about myself or my work.
  • This pumpkin spice stuff is seriously getting out of control. Here’s a book with NO pumpkin spice in it.
  • I’ve missed meals, skipped family outings, remained unshowered for two five days, typed until my eyes were sand paper and my fingers bled, developed headaches that laughed at Tylenol, and alienated many friends with my writer moods. I do hope you appreciate all that went into this book and that you will take pity on me and read it.
  • I triple dog dare you not to read this book!
  • This is a collection of mini stories… But, wait! There’s more! No, there isn’t. But mini stories are fun and delicious. Like those little cupcakes with sprinkles that you can eat a bunch of without having to explain yourself to anybody because they expect you to eat more than one.
  • Will this torment never cease?!!!
  • I’m seriously considering finding a vampire and asking it (“him”? or “her”?) to turn me so I have an excuse to not finish this intro. No, seriously. Now I’m wondering. What is the correct pronoun for creatures of the night? Are they “it” or do you refer to them by the gender they were before they were bitten? And, technically, they are still that gender. Regardless, if I were a turned into a vampire it would require some adjustment on my part. Would that be an acceptable reason for not including an introduction to this collection?
  • There is nothing (not one thing) in this book that mentions the United States political system, the election, or the candidates.
  • Short fiction is known by many names. Flash, sudden, postcard, micro, hint… Hint fiction. Get it? Hinting at Shadows does hint at darkness but it’s also hint fiction. Cool, huh? *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* Know what I mean?
  • I’d rather be watching Harry Potter.
  • If I write any more introductions, there’s a real possibility I will spontaneously combust.

 

Do you find it difficult to write your introduction or is it easy after you’ve done all the writing/editing/revising for your book?

 

I Need to Get the Hell out of My Own Way

 

I walked away from writing.

 

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It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But I ran back—characters shouting in my head and fingers itching for the keyboard.

I need to write.

Without it, I am incomplete. I am miserable.

So why am I not writing? To be fair, I’ve started flash fiction again. But I’ve stopped there.

I’m not taking a scene or idea and running with it. I’m not working on any of my novels. What’s going on?

Well, I’m busy. My health isn’t great. My to-do list is growing every day. I have deadlines, meetings, and appointments. Did I mention kids? Because. Kids. I have a lot going on in my life right now.

When it comes to writing, I always have an excuse ready. Except I call it a “reason” because I’m a word nerd and these small differences often wind up making a big difference.

Excuses are crap, my writer-self says.

Reasons are real, tangible things that get in my way, my writer-self says.

I hate to admit it but it’s true. Think about this. You MAKE excuses, you HAVE reasons. See? My writer-self is right. Also, she’s full of shit.

I need to get out of my own way.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever caused your writer’s block? Been your own problem? Are your “reasons” just excuses in disguise? 

 

Be Free… Write

 

You can’t write. The words are gone. Your muse is AWOL.

 

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I posted about struggling to find the words for a special occasion but this is an ordinary day. In the wicked world of a writer. The weather shifts and… A sudden freeze. Or a prolonged drought. These things can go either way.

However you got here, you’re here.

You’re about to crawl into the corner and cry or have a panic attack. (Again, these things can go either way.)

We all know enough to get up, stretch, breathe, move… But when we sit down again, we must write.

Something silly.

Like haiku.* It’s a fun break. Also, I really think the counting of syllables helps me. Kind of like rubbing a worry stone.

I can’t write a word
Am I sad or pissed? Don’t know!
I’ll write a haiku

Or whatever. You get the idea.

Six words stories are fun, too:

Aliens dissect humans. Discover no heart.

Dieting = refusing pizza, eating chocolate cake

I can’t write a bloody word!

I’m stuck. In the muck. Oh…

But free-writing is the absolute best. You can free-write your way out of just about anything. Like a literary MacGyver. Be Free… Write.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Free-writing is a powerful force. No thinking, no stopping, no correcting, just writing. May the Force be with you.

Have you ever tried haiku? Six word stories? Free-writing? What works to get you unstuck? Who caught that “Six words stories are fun, too” was 6 words? Smarty pants. 

* No haikus were hurt in the writing of this post. Also, I don’t find haiku humorous (in general) and I’m not downplaying the beauty of a well-written haiku or the poets who write them.