Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting Started

I'm finally entering the blog world! I don't know why I've waited so long. Blogging seems like the logical endeavor for a writer, but I've resisted. I think I finally realized the cause of my resistance...it's fear, the same source of all of the procrastination in my life.

I first realized that I'm a perfectionist thanks to http://www.flylady.net/. I stumbled across Flylady many years ago while searching for cheap Christmas gift ideas. Somehow I landed on her crisis-cleaning article, and I was hooked. For those that don't know, the flylady website and email subscription (free, by the way) provides a managment system focused on keeping your home in working order...primarily house cleaning, meal planning, and organization. She provides encouragement and a common sense approach that worked for me, at least for a while. Part of her philosophy is that we end up with messy and cluttered homes because we are perfectionists. We feel we can't possibly get the job done "right" so we never get started.

Over the last few years, I've noticed this perfectionism rearing it's ugly head in so many different areas of my life, and specifically in the last year regarding my writing. I participate on several message boards but I've only posted freely and frequently in the forums where I use an anonymous handle. Even in those safe environments, I read and re-read my preview posts, second-guessing almost every word and phrase, before I press "submit". Then I read again--quickly in some cases because you can't edit after someone posts a reply on some forums--and I typically still find a typo or grammatical error that leaves me anxious and embarrassed.

I've called myself a writer since junior high school when I was first elected as "Reporter" of my 4H club. I was already an avid reader and felt certain as I was growing up that I would be a writer, on the best-sellers list shortly out of college, making big bucks. "Starving artist" was not part of the vision. I excelled on my high school newspaper staff and started UNC-CH as a journalism student in 1984. I quickly realized that entry-level newspaper reporters earned peanuts and the dream was shattered....almost. After my daughter was born, I started my own business, publishing a monthly community magazine. Like most first-time business owners, I had a great idea but lacked the business skills to make it work. After a year and half of earning an impressive loss, I folded. Since the early 90s I've journaled, written an occassional press release, started the great American novel at least 100 times, and cranked out a ton of academic and technical pieces for my various employers. I've also edited for my mother, Donna Campbell Smith, who has an impressive portfolio of magazine articles, four books and another book coming out this year.

Until now, however, I've done little to get serious about writing. Understanding this could be a pretty boring blog, I'm about to push "Publish Post" anyway. I'm about to take the plunge into the world of online writing. Maybe no one will read my work. Maybe I'll never earn a penny. Maybe I'll have lots of negative comments and reactions. Or maybe not. Either way, who cares? I'm 41 years old. I've neglected my dream too long. I've read some pretty awful stuff on the internet....I've read some pretty awful stuff that made it to the best sellers list! I'm ready to face the fear and expose myself--typos and all!

2 comments:

donnacsmith_1 said...

You have beautifully expressed what many of we writers do not dare admit. Fear of rejection and/or fear of failures is our biggest stumbling block.

I am just glad that I have a daughter who is willing to give her time and expertise to her starving-writer-mama.

Dineane said...

hee hee....Thanks, Mom! Can't go wrong when your first comment is from your mama, huh?