Do you know writers' block has a twin brother? I just found out recently too! I was having a discussion with Pamilerin Jacob, one of Nigeria's finest poets some weeks ago and I mentioned the fact that there are times I feel the nudge to write only to think that what I have written is rubbish. It is even worse. Many times I don't write at all because I fear that I will write nothing.
You see, I see myself as an amateur writer, especially when it comes to stories so I stay in my comfort zone, my strongest genre, which is poetry. But Pamilerin told me that he as a point of fact does feel like that too and that this twin of writers? block, which is writers' fear has a way of caging writers in the cell of their own creativity and that one way he has been able to overcome this is to embrace it. He said he has a folder that contains a manuscript, “The Book of Garbage”, and there he writes whatever comes to his mind not minding poetic process or the sensibility of it. He said writing in his ‘Book of Garbage’ gives him the confidence to write more. He calls the process of writing without thought process ‘automatic writing’ and I strongly believe that this is something every writer should embrace.
The greatest evil that would happen to a writer is not that he has written rubbish; it is that he has not written at all. And so automatic writing helps you pour out your raw words, those insensible stuffs in your mind and glory not in the beauty of the idea but in the fact that you are writing and conscious about it.
And if you think writers' fear is something common to up-and-coming writers alone, look at what Jerry Jenkins, New York best-selling author of over two hundred novels said, 'Every time I start writing a new book, I face the same fears. What if I can't do it this time? Will readers decide I'm a fraud? Can I still possibly compete in a colossally crowded field?' So, the great Jerry Jenkins has writers' fear too, but like all successful writers, he did not allow the fear to deter him from writing. Instead, he creates a way to turn his fear into motivation to write and we all should do this too.
In my next blog post, I will talk about how to use fear as a motivation, but till then, employ the tips given above on ‘automatic writing’.
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