The Pendulum Method of Overcoming the Fear of Writing
So, you want to be a writer. There’s a story burning inside of you and you literally can’t type fast enough. Hours are spent in front of the computer screen behind a closed door. Family, friends, and your significant other are brushed off (in a polite manner, of course). Finally, after much rereading, rewording, retyping, it’s done. Complete. Finir!
Now it’s time to send it to an editor. Wait! What? I have to actually share my writing? You mean, I have to let someone else read it? For real?
Yes, you do. It makes no sense to write and write and write and then not share. Not to put it out there denies all the readers in the world your creativity, wisdom, opinion, cheeky humor, and vision. It’s really nothing to fear.
Using the Pendulum Method
Let’s use asking someone out on a date as an example. There is a girl or guy you’re interested in. You imagine what it would be like to be in their company, having long conversations, sharing smiles and laughter, and eventually saying those three words, “I love you.” But what if that other person isn’t interested in you? You can muster up all the courage you need, ask them if they’d like to go to dinner and a movie Saturday night, and possibly be shot down. It can shatter your heart, put a dent in confidence, and have you retreating into your shell. But what if you thought it through using the pendulum method?
As you know, a pendulum works by converting energy back and forth. Like in a Grandfather clock, it swings left and right. So, let’s get our pendulum in position, pulling it all the way to the furthest left you can. This is the point which marks the worst case scenario. If you ask this person out on a date, what is the worst case scenario? They say no. Worse, they say, “no, not with you.” Even worse, they say, “not with you, never in a million years.” OK, so that stings, I get it, but let’s swing the pendulum so it goes as far as it can to the right. What would be the best case scenario? You ask this person out and they not only accept, they say, “I’ve been thinking of you a lot. I’d love to go out with you Saturday night.” Now you’re walking on clouds. Your heart is singing and there’s a bit of a spring in your step.
But how does the pendulum method work with writing?
The Pendulum Method Applied to Writing
It works just the same. You’ve finished writing your masterpiece and now it’s time to share (at least with an editor or some beta readers). What’s the worst case scenario? Is it getting judged? Bad reviews, or worse—no reviews? Worse even, no sales? Your editor or beta readers will tell you this is garbage or rip your story into pieces?
First of all, you’re not alone. Every writer has felt this, it comes with the territory. Same as you like your nurse until it’s time for them to give you a shot. Don’t let people (readers) who judge your writing knock you down. It’s simply a matter of taste. Ever read a book or go to a movie based on the suggestion of a friend only to wonder what they were thinking? Same thing.
Bad reviews, however, is a different ball of wax. Sometimes a negative review is warranted, like when the author decides to skip editing all together and it certainly shows, or there are gaping holes in the plot.
Now let’s swing the pendulum to the right—best case scenario. What if your editor reads it and other than a few minor grammatical errors, it’s perfect? Or your beta readers all say how much they loved your story? What if they both ask you for more? What if they ask, “what is your next book, I want to read more?”
Let’s go a step further. You brave the literary waters and send your manuscript out to a few agents. An agent responds saying she’d like to schedule a phone call with you. Better yet, two agents respond, and a bidding war ensues for your story. Let’s keep going. You sign on and a few months later, you’re a best-seller! Trust me, these are great scenarios, and are challenging, but not impossible.
A pendulum always swings, so keep in mind, it some cases it might have to swing all the way to the left in order to fully swing to the right.
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