Starting to Write

The fear that hangs over all of my writing is that I will never finish the big projects. Actually, it’s even worse than that: I fear not knowing how to finish. . . Longer projects paralyze me, and I get to a point where I literally wake up in the middle of the night, with an anxiety knot in my stomach, and wonder if I will ever be able to finish them.

For me, it’s starting that is hard. Once I start, I’ll push like crazy until it gets done. I always feel that I need to read more, think more, and I’m just not ready yet. This is irrational because I know that the best thinking happens while you actually write and not while you sit there thinking about writing.

What I need is for someone to give me a deadline. “You have until such and such date to finish the book. And. . .go.”

Like the linked writer, I have no problem with shorter pieces. It’s the book-length project that has me stalled. I changed the topic 3 times already. At this rate, it will end up being a book on medieval Scandinavian epos because that’s as far as one can get from the original idea.

5 thoughts on “Starting to Write”

  1. What I don’t like is the feeling of pushing like crazy. I don’t mind working all day but I hate to rush and I do like to take the time to read. The idea of rushing, goading yourself to go faster and faster, kills it for me. I don’t want to start because I don’t want to start torturing myself, and I think this is reasonable. I also don’t like to write in field because I disagree with my father’s work. He screamed at us so much about how only he was right that I can still hear it. Every word I write in field triggers this. So I prefer to write about other things, other topics. Even though I have so much expertise and there is so much to say.


  2. Also, interesting: some people like deadlines. I like start dates and schedules. I will start on day x, and I can realistically put in this much time/do this much per day/per week, so I will do that much every day/week starting on day x, until finished. And then yes, I’ll rush to finish, even, because I’ll start getting interested in what the NEXT piece will be.


    1. I like deadlines; I like the adrenaline rush plus I procrastinate without deadlines. Also, I have so many demands on my time that any predictable schedule is a goddamn illusion because there are always things that pop up that have to be dealt with ASAP (e.g., a lens popped out of kid’s glasses, which got him so worked up that I had to go pick him up from a sleepover at midnight after I’d gotten ready to go to bed). Sometimes I think it would be nice to not always scramble, tbh, but it’s a way of life now.


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