Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ISWG: On Roller Coasters and Writing

Yesterday my family and I went to an amusement park. In my teens, I absolutely loved roller coasters. The faster, the scarier, the better. (This period of my life also coincided with the one and only time I watched scary movies.) But now that I have tweens of my own, I’ve grown into a bit of a chicken. So, when my son wanted to go on a log ride, I hemmed and hawed about going with him.

I didn’t care about getting wet, but the long drop terrified me. But too late. My husband had already got me tickets—and if I didn’t go—my son would have to go alone. I had to do it. Fear or no fear.

When we got in the car, my son said he was a little bit excited and a little bit nervous. Me too! When we got to the top, he said, “This is cool.” After we took the gigantic plunge, I yelled, “We did it.”

What does this have to do with writing?

I can’t tell you the high I felt after coming off the ride. It wasn’t just the adrenaline rush. It was conquering my fear, doing something I was scared of.

I forget sometimes when I’m nursing my fears, whether they are about writing or about life, just what wonderful things you miss when you give into your fears.

Let's face it, writing is a roller coaster ride.

As we head into summer, there’s a lot of things I’m afraid of writing-wise.

1.  I’m afraid of actually finishing my revisions and having a manuscript ready to go again. I’m equally afraid of reentering the querying game sometime this year.

2.  I’m afraid I’ll never finish an R/R I'm working on. I’ve been frozen both by walking through a tough year emotionally and getting some feedback I’m still processing. I know most of my fear (and procrastination) is about worrying that I won’t get it right.

3.  I have a new idea for a book that won’t let me go. It’s very personal and close to my heart and scares me to death. It’s outside of my comfort zone in every way.

As I was coming off my ride high yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of all the writing advice about not avoiding those topics or stories that frighten you.

As John Truby says in Anatomy of a Story:  Write something that will change your life.

So, I know the answer to those fears. Just like a ride, you have to get in, hold on, and tell yourself you’ll make it through. And whatever happens, if you have finished what you set out to do, you scream: “I did it!”

photo credit: IMG_9314 via photopin (license)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the the June 3 posting of the IWSG are M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!


  1. Jenni, I love the fearlessness of kids. Good for you for taking the plunge. Keep it up. I need to take some of your advice and take a few baby steps too. Thank you for this timely post. Where is Verla's horse when I need it?

  2. I'm doing the same thing w/a revision. I just need to finish it, ship it off to cps, incorporate their feedback, and then I'll be ready to query in the fall. But...I'm scared of coming out the other end without an agent still. I just need to get fearless!! =)

  3. I'm still not getting on a roller coaster.
    The satisfaction of being able to say 'I did it' far outweighs the fear of doing it.

  4. There really is nothing like that rush of realizing we just battled a fear and won. Good for you! This is a great tactic to use with our writing. #sighs Gosh, I really need to use some of that now. LOL

  5. Such a great post and so inspiring! It's so true and I let fear stop me so many times....there are times that I actually don't even realize it's fear because somehow I've convinced myself it's just not the right time. Thank you for this and good luck with all your summer adventures!

  6. So true, you nailed this: "I know most of my fear (and procrastination) is about worrying that I won’t get it right." I am excited to hear you have a story idea that really scares you - but I like the phrasing about the story that will change your life, that's not so scary. I don't think I've quite hit on that scary something yet, though I still feel passionately about the stories I've written so far.

  7. Yes, we need to face those fears so we can yell "we did it!" Love your thoughts. :)

  8. Awesome post. And I completely agree. Hold on tight and face those fears. You can do it! :)

  9. Great post Jenni. Writing is definitely comparable to a roller coaster ride. Hang on!

    Denise :-)

  10. Not only is writing a rollercoaster ride, but so is life in general. Be brave! Get out of your comfort zone! I'm glad you and your son had a good time! :)

  11. I too loved roller coasters as a teen. Now? Not so much.

    That's a great analogy, linking roller coasters to the writing journey. When I'm writing a novel, it means I'm consenting to zipping through endless upside down loops.

  12. For me, it would have been the getting wet.
    But give me all the roller coasters.

  13. Sometimes I wish I was as fearless as I was when I was younger. It'd make life easier because I'd jump into everything feet first with barely a care. Of course, that might me I have more backfires.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  14. "Write something that will change your life." It's a great quote.

    Writing is a rollercoaster, but it's a great feeling when you finish a novel. Congrats for braving the water ride. Some people wouldn't have gone because it scared them.

  15. An apt analogy. I do face my fears through writing and publishing. It feels great that I did it.

  16. Nice post, Jenni! Sometimes I think the longer we write, the more writing fears collect under the desk. A rollercoaster is a great way to get ahead of them!