"I'm scared right now, I'm just talking a lot so you can't tell." - Merlin Mann
I've been thinking all day today: Dear Universe, I'd like to read a book called "How to become a writer if you're scared shitless".
So I googled it.
Then I found Merlin Mann's talk from Webstock, which sort of comes close.
I have an inclination, a history and a habit of being scared. A lot. I'm not scared of spiders, I mean, I don't particularly like them, but they don't paralyze me. If there ARE spiders that can actually physically do that - just don't tell me. No, I'm not scared of bad stuff, at least not more than other people, I think. I'm scared of the good stuff.
I want to be a writer. But I'm scared of actually writing a book.
I want to make films. I'm scared of making a film. Hell, as far as I get is a screenplay!
Then I get scared and paralyzed and can't go on. But it's not like I can let go either.
But why would I be scared of creating something? Shouldn't that be something positive? Sure, if I lived up to expectations. Whose? Probably my own perfectionist view of myself.
But somehow I see a much bigger chance that I could create something that is complete and utter shit. And maybe my friends wouldn't have the heart to tell me and let me go on believing I made something fantastic. And how sad would THAT be? (btw if we're friends and you've read my stuff and you think it's shit: TELL ME!)
I feel like I don't have the tools (camera, lights, action) that I need to make something wonderful. But acquiring those tools scares me even more because then there'd be the possibility of failing under more favourable circumstances. See, that way I'd KNOW what I'd be doing and if I do it badly then... well then it would be even more my fault.
The funny thing is, my mother thinks I am over the top confident, to the point of arrogant. Yeah right. And although all I have are my words they desert me every single time she throws that in my face. If I had confidence in myself, in what I was doing, I'd actually have something to show for it. But she doesn't consider that. That I am constantly doubting myself to the point of paralysis. That what I do end up doing is never enough. Not for me. That a huge chunk of this specific blame goes to my parents for making me feel like success was just naturally to be expected. She doesn't remember it like that, but this is the memo that I continually got. And it is how I became this person ridden with fear. Fear of not being good enough.
And by not finishing anything I don't run the risk of finishing anything badly.
But really this is not an option anymore.
Mann shows an index card in his talk: "I was scared I wouldn't build anything important." He also shows AFP's index card "I was afraid that everybody would find out I was an inauthentic fraud performing my own life". This shit speaks to me.
But these people have done what they were scared of. And succeeded. I'm sure they sometimes failed too. I could fail. But then I already do that by giving up, don't I?
So I guess, this is the point where I, like Mann says, I have to start running through the shit storm. Because really, if I don't run, the shit is just going to cover me anyway with the distinction that I won't get out of it.
I'll start with a postcard (I don't have index cards at hand). And then I'll go write a little I think in oder to become less of a fraud.
Mann says "Everyone is scared shitless." I think he might be right but can't help wondering: Are they? Are you? What is it that scares you shitless? What is it that you want to do that scares you?