writer’s block and fear of failure

I have a bit of a case of writer’s block. Thoughts, so many thoughts, but when I try to write, I can’t write any of it.

I have four guest posts I want to write, plus a few other ideas, but the words are escaping me and everything I put down, I hate. Every sentence sounds trite and stupid, every word seems off-key.

I think my problem is that I wrote some stuff I was proud of, and now I feel the need to write my best piece every time. I’m terrified of losing any good-will of my few readers by writing stuff that isn’t as good as my best.

I’m trying to make some new friends with people in a local freethinkers group, but some of them are really smart science teachers and I’m afraid I’ll say something dumb and be forever branded ‘the stupid one’. Or some of them are really friendly and outgoing and I’m afraid of being the antisocial one. (right now I think I’m ‘the one with purple hair’. I can live with that).

I grew up with mantras like ‘do all in the name of the Lord’ and ‘…working as for God and not for men’. I felt it was my duty to do my best — which soon became ‘I wanted to BE THE BEST’ — at everything.

My parents were difficult to please. My mom always said ‘I’m sorry, but I just can’t praise mediocrity’. And I worked so hard for her favor and seemed to lose it so easily.

I think that I expect everyone to be like that. It’s hard to be yourself, whether making friends or writing, when you are waiting for everyone to hate you if you ‘fail’.

I have often felt I was defined by my failures more than my successes. Make a 34 on the ACT and straight As, but then read a recipe wrong and mess up the baking and suddenly you’re ‘actually really dumb’. like when people say ‘if you tell a lie, you’re a liar’, only with ALL the mistakes….

So one badly written post, by that logic, would make me a ‘bad writer’.

This makes trying very costly…

but I’m going to attempt something big. I’m going to trust you all to give me the same room for bad days and posts all over the spectrum from lame and messy to profound and artistic that I would give you. And so I offer up this little post as the best I can do today and with it I offer up room for us all to try and maybe to fail.

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