Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

Diagnosis: Writing Anxiety

Everyone has some form of downtime to partake in. I know people who play the flute, read, paint, draw, illustrate, dance, and sing. However, the form of downtime my friends and I share is one special activity: writing.

I suppose I should expect to have a bunch of writer friends; I edit for all of my school’s publications, and a lot of young people thoroughly enjoy writing. I did not expect, however, to experience the reluctance some writers have for sharing their work with others.

 

Just do it.

Just do it. (Still from Sprint commercial). Source: http://www.cultofandroid.com/15519/sprint-starts-say-no-to-sharing-campaign-against-shared-data-plans/

 

Plenty of my friends write, though I have never read a single piece of work by them. On the other hand, I have looked over a handful of friends’ creative writing and reporting pieces. The question that is bothering me is logical: what separates the open writers from the closed?

I have decided that all of us, regardless of our extroversion as writers, face some level of writing anxiety. I fall somewhere in the middle of the open-closed spectrum: while I frequently share my writing with people, I always feel a bit nervous in doing so; I am afraid that they may critique it harshly or worse, not critique it at all. Also, some pieces are easier for me to broadcast than others. I can squelch writing anxiety to a degree.

Perhaps all writers have writing anxiety, even those of us who share words with other people. It is indisputable that we are all secretly afraid of being criticized for our opinions and viewpoints. Still, some of us share our works hoping that we will learn from other people’s comments, while others feel that outside feedback is unnecessary. This does not mean closed writers are more confident in their artistry, but they may not feel a desire to be validated by other writers on something that is so personally connected to them.

 

Don't touch my writing!

Don’t touch my writing! Source: http://mrwgifs.com/no-touchy-kuzco-kronk-in-emperors-new-groove-gif/

 

Truthfully, it is fine to not want to share your writing. For me, writing helps me reason with myself. It is something I do instinctively every day, and I often enjoy the result of the activity. If someone read literally everything I ever wrote they would probably understand my thought process to an unnatural point, which would make our situation as friends rather uncomfortable. Though we all love feedback, especially the positive and constructive kinds, writing is more than an attention trap; it is an art, and it is a form of expression. When you critique someone’s writing, you draw attention to their thought process or view of the world, and then point out its flaws. This process is painfully difficult to accept for lots of people, sensitive or not, so not exposing their worlds to people for feedback is a perfectly appropriate method of self-defensive for many writers. They are simply protecting the one thing people will never be able to fully have access to: their minds.

One final note: when people reveal that they do not want to share their writing, realize they may have writing anxiety, but don’t share your pity – respect their privacy.

Do you have trouble sharing your writing with other people? 

My secret novel-in-verse

secret

Source: http://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/2011/09/29/right-to-know-week-day-3secret-government-meetings

 

I don’t let anyone read poems written by my twelve-year-old self, period. But outside of this minor restriction, I have made a great effort to becoming more open with my writing. I frequently write for a creative writing blog, posting everything from serials to poetry; although I kiss each piece goodbye like a mother would: very reluctantly. Certainly I write prolifically for various publications, and I have even created this blog in order to inspire others and publicly spread some light to those who are trapped in perpetual night.

Let me tell you: I have discovered that sharing words, combined into well-phrased sentences, is vastly liberating. Nonetheless, I still hold certain pieces of writing closer than others; yet here I am, healthily outing one of my creative projects: my unpublished novel-in-verse.

To be candid, some writers physically have to write when they are inspired, lest they internalize a shallow viewpoint. When I witnessed a piece of art, the film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I shocked myself by not crying. Instead a new feeling of anger, power, and desire to end worldwide hatred helped me discover a new point of interest: researching the holocaust, and in particular, how it is portrayed through myriad art forms.

 

Still from the movie The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Still from the movie The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Source: http://theboyinthestripedpajamasproject.weebly.com/friendship.html

 

I read countless novels, memoirs, poems, articles, and scholastic papers on genocide. I watched The Pianist and listened to Chopin for hours afterwards. But none of these creative activities, however interesting, satisfied me as much as writing, so I decided to generate my own way of coping with a situation I would hopefully never have to endure.

So I wrote lines of poetry as I thought of them. There was no general framework for the piece or any planning. I did not know who would survive the wreckage. Truthfully, I was not even fully set on the names of the characters. I had soaked in so many emotions from the victims, families and portrayers of the holocaust that my only catharsis resulted from writing my own reaction to such a tragic moment in history.

Writing my secret novel-in-verse means I have the power to cope with anything; it means I have the ability to create – to procure instead of destroy feelings. It means I have strength in my mind that allows me to summarize indescribable emotions.

 

How I feel when I write poetry

How I feel when I write poetry. Source: http://www.sodahead.com/entertainment/clap-along-and-post-your-favorite-songs-about-being-happy/question-4221899/

 

Yet, regardless of this skill that I may possess; I have trouble letting anyone read poetry written from a vulnerable place. Perhaps all writers do.