being scared

"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?


  1. Step 2: Send that postcard to a random stranger, making THEM scared. Or at least a little bit confused.

  2. @patrick: I was thinking post secret, but now it's not exactly a secret anymore, is it...

  3. Of course I'm scared. I'm scared shitless. I'm sitting in my flat, NOT writing job applications, because if I don't try anything, I can't fail at anything. Yeah, it's basically a coma, but it's also the only non-scary option on the table.

    As for filming...I dunno...I mean WE are doing it. We still don't know what we're doing, but by now so many wonderful people have done so much for us that it's no longer about us playing at stuff. It's real now, and we have to finish it, and while we're doing the actual work, it's not actually that scary. (You'd think it would be the other way round, but strangely it's not.)
    My point is, if we can do it, you can most definitely do it. The trick, I think, is to create a situation that has its own momentum, so you don't have time to overthink things because they keep coming all on their own.

    And then there's a little matter that I think about sometimes: In a world that is governed by Sturgeon's Law, isn't it a tad egotistical to think that we should be able to fail so spectacularly that people will take the time to point and laugh?

  4. @deadra: Oh but imagine them not pointing and laughing! that would mean utter obscurity. which if I'm honest is not what I had in mind for my life ;)

    but not only do we live in a world possibly governed by Sturgeon's Law (it's a timeshare with Murphy's Law) but we also live in a world where everyone is so bothered by what other people are thinking about them that no one is actually thinking about anyone else.

    yes, I will probably watch you guys like a hawk on thursday :)

  5. Aaah...that's a problem. Obscurity appeals to me.

    You're welcome to watch - if you can bear the rampant unprofessionality of it all (except for Eric, who is a pro at what he does - no idea why he puts up with us, but YAY ^_^). But even if you can't stomach can lean back, secure in the certain knowledge that you can do better. Either way, it's a win for you ^^