The above title is an expression I came up with as an alternative to the familiar phrase “writer’s block.” I thought that it encapsulated the emotional quality of the experience, rather than the more psychoanalytic or even engineering tone of a “block,” while also punning cleverly on the familiar term “stage fright.” For if you look at what keeps (us) writers from writing, I think in every case you will find that it is fear.
I’ve never really thought of myself as suffering from writer’s block or page fright; writing has always been easy for me, and I don’t find it difficult to turn my thoughts and experiences into words. And yet, and yet. Look at this here blog, a thing that I not only write but also publish. If writing is easy for me, what could be simpler than to crack off a blog post and publish it? No obstacle of any kind hinders me. And yet I published my last post here on December 6, 2019, almost two months ago. What happened—or failed to happen? According to my just-presented theory, fear happened.
Fear of what? What am I afraid of? Let me think. I’m just searching my mind. One thing that swims up: fear of being boring. I think I have a fear that if I just write and publish any old thing, it may be half baked and uninteresting. This may come from a deep-seated anxiety, stemming from earliest childhood, that I need to impress. To be humdrum or ordinary is to be somehow worthless or even nonexistent. The astrologer in me can see signs of this in my birth chart.
Another possible fear is of being unfocused or off message. I created this website and blog in order to promote myself and my works. It exists to promote my “brand.” This “marketing” outlook subtly affects how I approach topics here and what I feel I can write about. And so I prune away ideas, even unconsciously, that I think might not fit with the “mission” of my site.
I’m not sure whether I have discovered all my blog-related fears here, but this is already enough, I think, to explain my hesitations and absences. I think: “What can I come up with that is both interesting and on message?” And often the answer is: “Well, nothing, right now.” And another week slips by, and another—and another.
Well, I want to break with that hangup. Call it a New Year’s resolution if you will, but I want to post more often and more freely. Here is where I need to be myself, with all of my too-many interests, inconsistencies, and warts.
I just thought of another fear. It’s that if I started talking about all the things that I think about and that interest me, I will unleash a torrent. For I am a man of many and diverse interests. And there is an anxiety that my blog and my writing and my career may, in dishing out everything, wind up being about nothing.
Well, and what if they do? It will mean that that’s what I was about all along—nothing. So be it.
So I suppose this is a mini manifesto for this blog. Brace yourself for a torrent of nothing!