Anxiety, Writing, and Andy

I am struggling to write and post consistent blogs because my writing is very personal and I don’t like sharing much with people. So, I will write a blog explaining… first semester sophomore year I took an introduction to fiction writing class. Totally random, seemed like an easy class. The professor was an old man who I could best describe as my idea of an artist. The carefree, creative, inspiring, harshness to him scared me enough to keep my distance. But he cared about our writing and about improving our writing styles and about interesting us enough to pursue it. It became the class I invested the most time into. Since we were forced to submit our writing online for our classmates to grade, I was too embarrassed for it to not be good. We also had to read it aloud on the day of our critique which was especially difficult for me. I am painfully embarrassed of myself, but that is a whole other blog post. So having to read my writing to a class, when I never speak up in class even to ask questions because it gives me too much anxiety… terrified me. I want to make you guys understand how tough this was for me… If in my head, I think I want to say something in class, I picture myself saying it and I rehearse it in my head to make sure it makes sense and is a question worth asking. Most of the time, I will doubt myself right there and tell myself that it is stupid. Sometimes I will get the nerve to raise my hand. As I wait to get called on, I continue to rehearse in my head and freak myself out even more. I feel my face get hot and my insides speed up. I regret raising my hand, but the professor has already seen me. Once I get called on, I feel like there is no oxygen in my head and I try so hard to get it out that I probably speak too quickly and too quietly and it probably makes no sense as I focus on not passing out.

Now that you get the picture… I write based upon my own life and people I have met and then change it into whatever I want, but it is always taken from experiences close to me. I tried writing my first story for class at least fifteen different times. I would try to scribble about anything to decide on a subject, but the only think I felt strongly enough about at that time was relationships and my problems with myself.
It was like I was standing naked in front of the classroom. My voice shook the entire time I read my story. Even though I had practiced reading it to myself, the words and phrases I had confidently emphasized while in the privacy of my own room the night before came out shaky and unstressed. I was mortified. Once I finished, I didn’t even look up. I did not want to see judgment in people’s eyes or realization that I was writing based upon my life. The professor said his bit about how he liked the sassiness of my main character, he said my descriptions were great. We went around the room as my classmates were each forced to give their input like every other story. I did not look up once, I fidgeted with my paper and wanted it to end. I wanted to hear what people thought, but it was so personal that I couldn’t gain the courage to look into anyone’s eyes. The critic was positive and some people expressed how much they enjoyed my story and looked forward to more of my writing. I smiled and looked at them. My writing was important to me, I wanted it to be good and appreciated so badly. I left elated, I called my brother Andy to get lunch. I handed him my story when we got to his house.

img_2965Important fact… Andy is quite possibly the coolest person ever in my eyes. Coolest is definitely the wrong adjective because he is not cool, but it will work. Point is, what he says matters. Not enough to remember exactly what he said about my story, but he did once say. “You feel emotions at an extreme, it is special and makes you a powerful writer, you should write a book.” I’ve always felt my heightened emotions were a bad thing, especially negative emotions like heartbreak and sadness. (Another thing to blog about) But Andy said that it made me different and that I could use it to write. So I write about what inspires me… things in my life and it is very personal. This whole blog is very personal to me and I am nervous to share that with the world, but I will continue to try.

One thought on “Anxiety, Writing, and Andy

  1. This is exactly why you must continue writing. It’s like soccer. You don’t start out playing like Mia and you don’t start out writing like Hemingway. You work at it. One of the things that bothers me about 153 is that the rubric is so brutal that it discourages writers from continuing. The first thing a writer needs is honesty, which you have in spades. The second is guts to share the honesty. You’re there, Jenny.


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