Understanding my problem with writing

I hate providing an opinion. I hate being the focus of scrutinizing eyes. I’ve always refrained from participating in classroom discussions or general debates with people. I don’t enjoy the idea of presenting an idea for people to poke holes into. Now, this aspect of my personality is decidedly at odds with my aim of becoming a writer. If I can’t put myself out there for people to judge, how can I even think myself capable of producing a full-length work for the public?

I’ve seen articles, blog posts, even long facebook statuses posted by people I know- all very well-written, being either prosaic and beautifully evocative; or thoroughly professional- all stemming from a confidence, a belief in the topic and in themselves, that they are capable of weathering any response given them. Though I may be able to emulate the writing itself, I cannot post material with the same confidence. No matter my conviction on an issue, I would not be able to bring myself to post a powerfully-worded piece for the fear of judgement. The same fear applies to any other writing I attempt. I worry about how I’d be perceived.

I’ve wrestled with this notion, and largely failed to do anything about it. I start writing something and get a short way in before I realize I’m in over my head and that I have no idea what I’m doing, and drop the idea. I stop, not because I can’t write further- I could continue, if I was thinking solely of what I want my story to become- but because I start wondering how I’d get my (decidedly sub-par) effort past other people. It doesn’t matter if all I’m writing is fanfiction, the thought of putting what I think isn’t good work in front of people terrifies me. When I hit a roadblock, before I attempt tackling the issue, I think about the possible drawbacks of any possible solutions to my dilemma.

Let me use the fanfiction as an example here: I usually show my writing to a few friends, who- while trying to provide constructive criticism- go out of their way to avoid hurting my feelings. I also occasionally post on places like Deviantart. It’s here that I start worrying about the quality of my work.

Let’s say I post the first chapter of something I’m working on, and it receives good feedback. Once my joy at this fades, I worry about how the next chapter will be received. Now, if I hit a roadblock, I can’t get beyond the thought of how badly any possible solution will be received. It’s like a pit of quicksand- I panic and flounder, getting sucked deeper into the mess. I try to come up with easy solutions, and when these turn out to be sub-par, I falter. I start thinking that I can’t up the quality of my writing, and that I can’t put anything that bad in front of anyone else.

I’ve read, over and over, that the key to writing is to just keep doing it, even when you feel you can’t write a single constructive word. I’ve read this, and I understand it, but I can’t seem to put it into effect. I also know that most of what I’m writing at this point is going to be terrible. Writing is a much more complex process than just spewing words out onto a document and posting the result on a website. I tell myself these things every time I sit down with the intention to write. It never helps. I always end up spiraling into thoughts about how my writing is rubbish, and that if I were to show that to people, I’d be a laughingstock.

What I’m trying to do here isn’t complain, or garner sympathy. I’ve never considered what I’ve written here before. I’ve never tried to pen down my issues with writing. I guess I’m trying to identify my shortcomings, to see how to begin overcoming them.

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