Just a reminder to enter a comment if you'd like to be entered in this month's drawing for a copy of Hot Apple Cider, an anthology containing Bonnie's short story, The Stuckville Cafe. And "welcome" if you're stopping by for the first time!
There is a stretch of highway between Reno/Lake Tahoe and Sacramento where you can find the California Highway Patrol out in force on any given afternoon - especially on Sundays. Locals know that you're more likely to be ticketed when speeding westbound than eastbound, and which highway exits offer the best spots for patrol cars to hide. Four cars were pulled over today on a mere half-mile stretch of road. Just knowing they are being observed is enough to make the most cautious driver keep the speedometer down a few miles below the speed limit.
It reminded me of how I used to feel the 'writing police' were watching me when I first started writing. Feeling as though you're being watched or that someone is looking over your shoulder as you write is enough to slow your progress and put the brakes on your creative processes. It can stifle the way you write, the topics you write about and undermine your confidence. It can pull you over and make you explain yourself.
While I was working on my first novel, my husband was a senior pastor at our church. I struggled with my writing because I imagined the entire church crowded in the room looking over my shoulder. In truth, I can't think of anyone who would have had a problem with my writing. It was a good story without any offensiveness, but I couldn't shake the feeling of disapproval. I didn't finish it until a year after we'd moved away, at which time I felt such relief - such a sense of freedom - to know that I didn't have to meet their expectations. Maybe I had been afraid of disappointing them.
I think that simply completing that manuscript bolstered my confidence. And even after completing two more, I sometimes still remind myself that our God does not give us a spirit of timidity. He will equip us for whatever ministry He has called us.
Have you encountered the 'writing police'? Perhaps you have and you've learned to cope. They could be close or extended family, a husband or wife, your parents or even a member of your critique group. Short of moving away from the real or imagined critics, what helped you the most to overcome? We'd love to hear from you.