Dec 5, 2012

IWSG - Running from the What If's

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, and therefore the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  I'm delighted to be co-hosting today with Alex and Livia.

Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. 

Sometimes, in the land of writing, we survive on what if's - what if I get my dream agent, what if I sign a contract with super publisher, what if my book gets made into a movie.  These are great skills because they flesh out our dream, push us when we just want to stop, keep us walking in the way of our goals.

But sometimes, thinking about the what if's makes life scary.  Like what if I get a dream agent and she wants a hefty revision and my due date for that is either mid-term or the end of the quarter and I already have a gazillion things to do?  Or what if I'm on the cusp of making it big but I might have to cut back at work and I'm not making the money for writing yet to balance that out?  

I was having one of these moments a few days ago when my son (11) was watching a video on youtube.  Now, if you have a child about that age, you may have experienced their fascination with parody videos, and the current hot topic in my area is MineCraft, specifically this one.  

I got thinking that Creeper provides a decent amount of motivation for the main guy (Mine Crafter?  I'm so not cool....) but when Creeper gets too close, the other guy runs away, trying to maintain what he has made.

That's what we need to do.  Keep our dreams close and in sight, to motivate us, to inspire us, to allow us to dream, but not so close they consume us.  

What possible part of being a writer frightens you the most?  Have you been to Alex and Livia's sites?  Do you know the name of the characters in MineCraft?

47 comments :

Julie Luek said...

I'm not familiar with the video, but I AM familiar with all the "what ifs". You're right, hanging on to the vision that motivated us to write in the first place is vital! Thanks for the great article.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't know anything about Minecraft, but I play the what if game all the time.
And I'm very stressed today because I have so many time commitments and a deadline approaching.

Miranda Hardy said...

My son is addicted to that game. Lol

We do need to keep our dreams close and go after them.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The part that frightened me the most was not being able to produce more than one book.
Thanks so much for co-hosting today!

Yolanda Renee said...

My biggest 'what if' is the fear of 'what if I never get traditionally published'?

Gosh I hate fear!

Bob Milne said...

Letting go, actually deciding that a manuscript is done and fit to be read, is what has always scared me. It always seems like there's more work that could be done, more excuses to wait just a bit longer.

Fortunately, I had a short-notice, impossible deadline to help me kick that fear. :)

J.W. Alden said...

Hi, Tasha! Thanks for cohosting IWSG.

None of the characters in minecraft have names. In fact, there aren't really any "characters" per se, just player avatars. Every person in the game is played by a person in the real world, except for the bad guys which are just called creepers. So you don't have to feel uncool. :)

As for what frightens me about being a writer, well . . . I'm afraid of failure in general. I've made some drastic changes in my life to accommodate my commitment to writing, and the negative what ifs can be dangerous. What if it's all for nothing? What if I'll never meet my goals? What if I'm making the wrong decisions? I think we all go through that to some degree. But at the end of the day, I think this dream is worth pursuing, even at the risk of failure.

Julie said...

I wasn't familiar with this video, but I love the analogy. I'm going to do my best to keep Creeper away.

Thanks for co-hosting the group! :)

Melissa said...

Thanks for co-hosting. :)

I really identified with the 'what if I can't meet a deadline' part. That's one thing that is on the 'pro' list for self-publishing. I'm a busy working mom. Having the drive to write isn't my problem, finding time is.

Great post!

IWSG #145 until Alex culls the list again. :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have found I have to just think about right now...all the what if's put me in fetal position!

Cherie Reich said...

We definitely need to keep that in mind. Dreams motivate us, but we can't let them consume us.

I think the part of being a writer that frightens me the most is doing everything right and still failing.

Dani said...

"What If's" are the worst! I need to keep motivated and keep the dream alive.

You're tha bomb at co-hosting! Thanks!

prerna pickett said...

the what-ifs scare me most out of everything...there's so much uncertainty in this business. But if you love what you do, then it doesn't matter.

Catherine Noble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine Noble said...

I love daydreaming about the grandure of being a best-selling novelist, but my biggest what if is: What if I die before my manuscript is complete? That's just a no no!

JeffO said...

I've *heard* of Minecraft; does that count for anything?

I'm trying hard not to let the negative 'what ifs' get to me. It's not easy!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

What if's are scary when they apply to negatives but not if you are dreaming the dream! Be positive and productive is my motto! But sadly it is not always possible for me to live up to it!

Tamara said...

No. I do not know the minecraft characters, but I should--since both my younger two have been obsessed with that game at one point or the other. BAD parent!

My biggest fear with writing is never getting anywhere with it. Which I've sort of posted on before, to the tune of LOTS of awesome encouragement that definitely really helped. But that fear still creeps up on me sometimes in my darker hours...I think maybe that's just part of being a writer though? The fear of not being good enough...

Donna K. Weaver said...

My hubby is addicted to MineCraft, and when I saw this posted by one of the Piano Guys, I sent the link to him.

Love your analogy to this cute video. Time for us to get our diamond armor and weapons and kick some butt.

Andrew Leon said...

Steve.
I'm pretty sure that's the only "character." That's the name of the default skin, at any rate. The rest are just monsters.
I kind of hate Minecraft, at this point, by the way.

Mostly, I think the "what ifs" are lies that distract us from what we really want. We get caught up in dreaming about them or dreading them and forget what it is we wanted when we started writing.

J. A. Bennett said...

What a great reminder! Thanks for the inspiration today :)

M. R. Buttars said...

What if's are a nightmare! Thanks for the awesome advice. It is true that our dreams should inspire us, but not consume us. :) Keep up the awesome work!

S. L. Hennessy said...

Yeah, the what if's are really scary sometimes. And can make it a challenge to keep our dreams in sight.

Candilynn Fite said...

I'm a huge what-ifer. At times, they can be crippling. I love how you said we need to keep our dreams close, but not let them consume us. Well said. Thanks for helping host IWSG this month. :)

Coleen Patrick said...

I think what scares me is the possibility of not being able to write--or have the writing life that I have now. For whatever reason. Even the random stuff. I had problem with my hands not that long ago and got a little scared about figuring out how I'd write my stories in a different way. Great post Tasha!

Cynthia said...

I hear you. I have "What if" moments too. I try to replace my "what if" insecurities with this mantra: I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Heather Gardner said...

Sometimes the dream does fade a bit. It's good to keep it close.
Great post.
Heather

Lisa Regan said...

I've played that game quite a big--the good, fun what-ifs and the bad, scary what-ifs. It's important though to stay grounded in the present moment sometimes.

Mina Burrows said...

I tend to be negative with my "What if's" I try so hard not to go there. I think negative criticism scares me most. :(

L. Diane Wolfe said...

No matter what the "what if," you find a way. And then your life changes forever.

Lexa Cain said...

I've pretty much giving up daydreaming about all that great stuff happening. I have no fear of success.
Thanks for helping Alex out - and stop worrying about things before they even happen. That's no way to live. Have fun with your kids and enjoy life! :-)

Leigh Covington said...

I don't know anything about MineCraft. For real. So I'm uber lame! But I love the message here! SO TRUE!

Kim Lajevardi said...

I think that's the secret to keeping sane in all this - balance. Balance our dreams and our lives. Great IWSG post!

Lara said...

You're right--the 'what ifs' are just another form of self-sabotage.

Happy writing!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

The what ifs... keep me awake many nights. I have so many, I can't even begin to list them. I just hold onto my dreams and hope as they come true, the what if's won't.

Doreen McGettigan said...

I agree with Alex for me it is the fear of the follow-up. I am beyond thrilled with the success of my first book and need to very soon make the change to full time writer but honestly those what ifs can make me a bit crazy:)
My Grandsons were listening to this video last weekend:) I am so ot cool either.
Thank you for hosting this month..
doreenmcgettigan.com

Rose Munevar said...

The biggest fear I have with writing is probably other people's perceptions. "Oh, you're a writer? What have you written?"
Uhhh. . .

Cherie Colyer said...

Keeping our dreams close is important. It helps us see past the negative what if’s to envisioning what could be.

I’m less cool than you, I hadn’t heard of MindCraft until now.

Thanks for co-hosting.

Robin said...

Totally clueless on the video and it's characters, but my son is only 9, maybe in a few years, or he's be on to the next big thing.

I dwell in if's a lot, often in the negative, what if I never... but I try not to think about anything but what I personally control-my writing.

Easier said than done though, thanks for your post!

IrishRedFox said...

What-ifs seem to be persistent in life as well writing. In day to day life it just helps to prepare. Seems we can do the same in writing too.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That was a very fun video, and a creative tie-in to your IWSG post.

Thanks for co-hosting, Tasha!

Jessie Humphries said...

I don't know what MineCraft is, but I think I get what you are saying. I think.

Tia Bach said...

Great post. Most of life is what ifs, but I especially find I do this to myself with writing.

Oddly enough, I published my first book with no fear, and had good results. So now my big fear is fumbling now that I know so much more and should be able to easily do a better job. Eek!

Love your blog. I'll be following.

Insomniac #4 said...

Right now, what frightens me the most about being a writer is the task of making the right choices. There are so many pitfalls that I'm afraid to fall into it makes me crazy. How do I separate the worthwhile plotlines and scenes form those that don't serve my story? How do I avoid information dumps, telling when I should be showing, using descriptions and dialogue that fit the story and characters, not just what sounds good in my head or what might be fun to try. And then there are the word choices. Is my vocabulary too elementary? Should I make my protag sound smarter, to make myself sound smarter? Or should he sound more like a typical teenage boy and throw out the thesaurus?

Writing is such a marathon, and I've always been a sprinter.

michelle said...

Congrats on the IWSG co-hosting gig!
"What if" my story is too outdated? That's my fear.

Nicole said...

The biggest "What if..." that gets me is the "What if...nothing." What if I pour my everything into the story, and it never gets heard? Yikes - that's the one the scares me. Luckily, for at least some of my stories, that "What if" fear is already past thanks to some great readers.

Ravena Guron said...

My biggest what if... mmm... what if I never get further than second place, in real life and in the publishing world?