Gooooooood afternoon, Cyberspace! Today I have
sneakily snuck into been cordially invited to Alex’s wonderful blog to share with you all a tiny portion of my insanity. (and cookies, obviously)
And it feels really, really weird.
If you couldn’t already tell, this is my very first time actually doing a guest post on another mortal’s blog, so I’m extremely out of my element here.
I mean, the editor looks exactly the same, and the typography looks like the normal boring old text, but deep, deep, deeeeep down in my butterscotch soul I know that this is not Smudged Thoughts.
Mostly because there are no cookies stashed secretly in all of the little nooks and crannies.
But also because there’s that strange, slightly terrifying button up in the corner that’s staring at me with it’s giant bold text, saying– SUBMIT FOR REVIEW.
In all caps.
And it’s sort of freaking me out.
But for right now, I’m just going to pretend like I’m still back in Smudged Thoughts lest this entire post is going to be me awkwardly rambling because #PRESSURE.
And also #FEAR
But before I jump straight into the post (do I call this a Smudge??? [IS THIS A SMUDGE???]), I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU!!!! to Alex for letting me hack into your blog for a day! This is gonna be so much fun!!!!
And now, without further ado, I would like to present to thee my Lord of The Trekkies guest post–
Kenzie’s 6-Step Method for Dealing With Peer Pressure in The Writerly World
(is that name a work of art, or is that name a work of art?
[it’s a work of art, obviously])
It is a commonly known truth that all writers face varying degrees of pressure, stress, and undiluted terror and panic when writing.
Every. Single. Day.
You sit down at your laptop/notebook/random scrap of paper you found in the street that’s basically just a giant pot-hole and think, “Okay, this is easy. I’ll just write my heart’s silent whispers, and everything will go swimmingly! Right?
Because the minute you put that pen to the page, you will miraculously feel a million and one eyes on you*. Staring at you. Judging you. Peering over your shoulder and waiting eagerly for you to make that one mistake that will ruin your writing career before it has even begun.
The misplaced comma. The terrible pun.
The fact that you completely forgot to write a blog post for the week.
(*a million and one eyes = 500,000 people and 1 cyclops)
Basically, whether you’re writing a 100,000 word novel in the darkest corner of your
severely trashed room; a 20,000 word short story for a writing competition that you’ll never fit within the 9,000 word limit restraint; a blog post for your measly, cookie-filled blog; or (horror of all horrors) a guest post, you are going to encounter SEVERE pressure.
From your peers.
And also that house centipede crawling along your floor.
So the question of the hour is, how do you deal with all of this writerly pressure? How do you overcome the crippling fear of panic you feel in your chest when you glance up at that giant SUBMIT FOR REVIEW button?
How do you keep writing after someone’s read your work and said it’s fantastic and now you have to keep writing fantastic things but what if this newer story isn’t as cool as the last one?
Well now, dear bean, never you fear, for my 6-step method is finally here to help you along your writerly career.
With this simple 6-step method, you’ll be back to writing in no time!
(for the low, low price of $9.99 a month!)
Step One– Denial
Ah, yes. Good ol’ fashioned denial. Perhaps right now you’re denying the fact that you’re in denial. But let me ask you this: does these look familiar?
“I haven’t been able to write lately because I have a serious case of Writer’s Block. Yeah. It’s a problem.”
“My creative Muse just refuses to talk to me! UGH! He is soooo stubborn. Oh well, I guess I’ll just go read this book… You know. For inspiration.”
“Well, I would be writing right now, but I got hooked on this show on Netflix, and–oh look! It’s playing the next episode!”
“Books books books books books books books books–“
“Seriously, though. Writer’s Block.”
Step Two– Admit You Have A Problem
Alright, now, take a deep breath. After denial comes the hardest step–admitting you have a problem.
I mean, how can you have a problem? Someone as wonderful as yourself can’t possibly have a problem, right?
Of course not.
Yet the fact remains that you are still suffering under the delusion that you don’t care what other people think, while in the meantime…
…you’re not writing…
But this obviously isn’t because you’re worried what other people might think of your stories, right? No, no no, your writing is perfect. Flawless.
And I’m sure that the insane amount of cookies I’m gobbling up right now as I write this is completely natural for a budding author and has absolutely nothing to do with the nervous meltdown I’m having whatsoever.
(I’m totally not stress eating, what are you talking about)
Step Three– Sit. Down. (preferably in front of your laptop or notebook [things would just get awkward, otherwise…])
After admitting with the utmost humbleness that you do indeed have a problem, the only thing left to do is sit your butt down in a chair and prepare yourself to write.
This requires quite a bit of talking to yourself, rubbing your palms together as though this will help ready them for the speedy lightning-quickness of your fingers on the keyboard.
As far as chairs go, I prefer ones of the swivel variety. Or at least something with a nice back to it. There’s nothing worse than foreseeing your future hunchback because you have no back support whilst you hunch over your laptop.
So choose your chair wisely, young one. Choose your chair wisely.
Step Four– Procrastination
Instead of writing the story or post that you’re supposed to be writing, the absolute best thing you can possibly do is put the whole thing off until the very last minute by watching YouTube videos you’ve already seen a thousand times and looking at fun writerly things on Pinterest!
Then, in about two hours (when your Pinterest searches have changed from writing topics to cute pictures of snails and you now know how to teach a chimpanzee sign language), you will be ready to write!
And of course your brain won’t be fried on all the procrastination you’ve been doing.
That never happens!
Lie to Tell Yourself That It Doesn’t Matter If People Judge Your Writing.
Constructive criticism is always welcome, right? We all want to grow as writers here. Perhaps the fact that your peers could potentially rip into your work with severed claws and fangs and rusted pitchforks should be a comfort rather than an overflowing source of anxiety!
So go ahead.
Lie to Tell yourself that everything’s going to be okay. After all, it is my current philosophy that if you pretend something is true long enough, it becomes reality. this theory is not yet proven
Step Six– Force Yourself To Forget That Your Peers Actually Exist And Just WRITE
I know, I know. This always ends up as my last step, and it never works. Not to mention the fact that it ends up so disgustingly inspirational that it makes you want to eat your blank sheet of paper and vomit it up again.
Yet it is the only advice that I can give.
It seems like no matter where you go, you have people staring over your shoulder, reading off the line you just wrote in a voice that–while perfectly normal to them–makes you think that they think that it’s the worst line anyone’s ever written in the history of writers.
So then you promptly delete it and start sobbing because you don’t know how else to word “The man sat”, but you must try because they obviously hate it, so you end up with something more like–
“The man perched lightly on the edge of his seat, the spindly metal legs creaking beneath his hulking weight as he shifted forward, pressing his elbows into his knobbly kneecaps to study the suspect in front of him. A murderer, they said.
And now you’ve got about a million words where three would have worked perfectly.
(just forget the fact that now you have more description, so technically the writing is better but seriously IGNORE THIS GLARING FLAW)
But in all honesty, there are only three forces at work when you’re writing: you, your beautiful mind, and the creepy little sheet of paper you’re trying to fill with words that just refuses to be anything but blank.
That is it. Those are the only factors that matter while writing, and not anywhere in that list were judgy people or a world filled with haters or even your great-grandmother.
So as hard as it seems, as impossible as it feels to write when you know you’re going to be judged, as terrifying as it might be to put your work out into the world where it can be ripped to shreds by a watermelon knife, I implore you to just try.
Just write. Enfold yourself within your story, your blog post, your ten-book-saga. Immerse yourself in a world that you created until the real world dies away, and all of its peers and judges with it.
No matter what, you will be judged. Your stories will be judged. Your writing style will be judged. You as a person will be judged. It’s awful and it’s crippling, but it is true.
So right now, when you’re putting your writing off because you’re afraid of what someone out in the great and terrible Cyberspace–or even in your own family–might say about
the multitude of severed heads in your story, I encourage you to just forget about every possible criticism and just write.
Forget about the peers. Forget about the SUBMIT FOR REVIEW button. Forget about the world that rips apart everything true and beautiful, and choose instead a world of your own making.
It’s that simple. It’s that impossible.
But that’s all there is to it.
Write your heart, ink your soul, and let the rest of the world judge away.
Wishing you the best of luck (and all of the cookies) on your writerly journey,
Congratulations! You’ve just completed Kenzie’s Six-Step Method For Dealing With Peer Pressure In The Writerly World! If you have any questions or complaints, I encourage you to call our staff office at (555) 555-55555. Business hours are 2:00 p.m — 2:01 p.m. every Tuesday.
*flings cookies in the air and disappears*