At the moment I’m developing a new project and as I do so, I’m conscious of the stages that I’m going through because no matter how many writing projects I develop, the fear process is always the same.
This is before I actually begin. I have a germ of an idea that I think could work and I’ve been mulling it around at the back of my mind. But then I think: ‘Who am I kidding? I’m never, ever going to be able to turn it into a full narrative. What ever made me think that I could do this?’ I decide that any previous success I’ve had was a fluke, or if I was able to do it then, I’ve lost it now. And so on.
The solution to this is a slap round the face – which is quite hard to do to oneself.
I start doing the actual writing, there are good days and bad days but overall, the project is taking shape, the ideas are coming, I’m waking up in the middle of the night, jotting down moments, expressions, ideas. However, all of I sudden, I get another great idea, that seems bigger, better and shinier than the project I’m working on. And I’m totally terrified. ‘What if the new idea is better than the old idea. What if I’m wasting my time on the old idea. Maybe I should ditch the project I’m half way through and start work on the new idea.’
The piece of writing is finished. I’ve rested, it, worked it over, rewritten it and I’m just about ready to get some feedback. I think it’s okay, in fact, some of it might even be rather good, if I say so myself. But that’s when I think, ‘Who am I kidding? Just because I think it’s okay it doesn’t mean anyone else is going to like it.’
The solution to this fear is to get over it.
What’s interesting is that these three stages happen every single time. But at least now, I recognise them in myself and also in the writers with whom I work.