Performance Anxiety?

That got your attention didn't it?

When one spots a title like that surely the content that follows is going to be focused on sex, right?


I'm sorry to disappoint you. Outside of the bedroom performance anxiety is a pretty common occurrence among those who perform before a live audience. Stage fright is the more common name for performance anxiety. Musicians, athletes, stage actors, public speakers all experience performance anxiety at one time or another.

It's that butterflies in the stomach feeling, the fear that once you step out onto that stage you're going to do something memorable in a stupid sort of way, or worse yet, you're mind will go blank, and everything you've rehearsed will be forgotten.

Writers experience that same sensation but usually for a different set of reasons. What normally goes through the writers mind as they embark upon a new endeavor is the fear that this time out will not be as good as the last time. That what they produce will be well beneath the standard they have established for themselves with their last release. That the words will not flow as well as they once did.

For the writer performance anxiety leads directly to writers block. In most cases writers block arises not from a lack of ideas, but from a lack of excitement for the writers current project, or an overwhelming avalanche of ideas the writers is having a hard time choosing from. The latter is what is currently holding me up.

My intent had been to write a coming of age story for release early next year, one I had written a screenplay for several years ago. Unfortunately the muse has other ideas as it keeps teasing me with snippets of a tale that is on my to do list, but not as close to the top as others projects I wanted to finish. Then of course there's the first draft of a novel that has been sitting on my desk for nearly six months now waiting for me to put aside these other tasks so we can spend some time together. To top it off there are a number of really neat ideas swirling around in my mind as we speak.

What I really need is a daily planner to get my limited writing time in order so I can finish some projects. I work a full time job, and while some might assume my writing is nothing more than a hobby, for me it's serious work. I worry over the placement of every word, did this sound right? will the reader understand what is really happening? am I explaining too much? too little? Striking that balance is a full time job. I could fill reams of paper explaining why something happened, but would anybody read it, it's doubtful.

My goal of course is to be able to support myself with my writing. I'm standing upon the threshold of three years as an indie writer. I've learned a lot in that time. And I've yet to make any serious money at it, but I remain optimistic that my time is yet to come. It is that optimism that compels me to sit at my desk every morning, to push through my own performance anxiety, and create what I hope will be considered a good read. 

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