Jan 4: In Which I Panic About Being a “Real Writer”
Jan 4: In Which I Panic About Being a “Real Writer”

Jan 4: In Which I Panic About Being a “Real Writer”

I’m tidying things up on the work front (which mostly means that I’m working hard and a lot) so that I can essentially disappear for four days, during which I will be at a writers’ retreat doing, not surprisingly, some writing. When I was first offered the chance to go to this, I got that giddy pounding in my heart that leaves me a little breathless and a little like a kid before a birthday party and I pretty much ran around the house going, “omgomgomg.” Because it’s fiction, which is the thing (not the person, natch, but the thing) that I love most in all the world. And I was able to say yes, thanks to a partner who knows that fiction is the thing I love most in the world and who said, “Whatever we need to do to make this happen, we’ll do.” And then I pre-birthday-party glee-bounced around the house some more and now I’m getting ready to leave for it in just another day and…

…I am panicked. I am panicked that I will have forgotten how to write. That I will sit there and sit there and nothing will come. That this novel I’m in love with with die a slow and painful death at my fingertips and it will turn into ash while I sit there. That everyone around me will notice that I am, in fact, a total fake, a fraud, a shamwriter of the worst kind.

I know this won’t happen. In that tiny, necessary part of my brain where my ego lives (it IS tiny and it IS necessary; I believe it’s hard to be a writer without a whopping dose of self-confidence topped off with a cupful of true humility and insecurity), I know that I will write something, that if I sit down and do the work, the story will come.

But that doesn’t dispel the utter panic that has followed me around all day.

Today’s Project(s): More on both Weird Discoveries and Tales from the Ninth World

Today in Writing: Continuing with the editing and the reworking of things.

Today in Walking: 3.5 miles

Today I Loved: A ring, a dog, a man, a moon.


Fiction words written today: —
Fiction words written this year: —
Total words written this year: 500
Total distance this year: 12.7 miles


Daily Dog:

Photo on 1-3-15 at 6.35 PM #4



  1. I’ve heard it called “Impostor Syndrome” and it seems to affect people of all levels of skill and accomplishment. How different people deal with it varies from one individual to the next, but when it happens to me I say, “Well, if the book ends up sucking, then I’ll just write another one.”

    I usually fall out of love with the idea for a novel by the time I’m halfway done writing the first draft.

  2. First of all, if your fiction writing is any bit as good as your blog writing, then you certainly belong there.

    Secondly, when I have doubts about my abilities, I remember this bit from Jeff Garlin, about doing stand-up comedy:

    “The trick to stand-up isn’t so much about learning how to be funny. It’s about learning how to fail. The most you can hope for is to eventually fail better.”

    I find this applies aptly to writing, as well. It’s not always about being good. Sometimes, it’s about being bad and rolling with it.

  3. I have that “turning to ash” feeling quite often. It happens so often that it’s sometimes crippling. As I’ve grown though, the only way I’ve found to combat that is to write through it.

    Congratulations, Shanna! I’m sure you’ll do well.

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