Jan 25, 2010

Performance Anxiety

Everyone gets it in some way, shape or form. Getting up on stage to sing, reading aloud, giving a speech, I (close your eyes Scott) even get it in public restrooms. Some one comes in, and suddenly I can't pee! (Ok you can open them now...it's all over)

Right now there are a few areas where I am experiencing large bouts of performance anxiety.

1. Writing my query letter ... I know the words are there. I know the story is great. But every time I put my fingers on the keys my mind goes blank and the words disappear. I am pretty sure this has to do with my second issue.

2. Getting ready to query ... My book is almost complete and pretty and perfect. All I need to do is polish up some things and write that query letter. BUT once that query letter is written there is nothing stopping me from sending it out. I am terrified to send it out. What if it's not perfect? What if my story doesn't catch anyone's eyes? What if I get rejected.

Thus...procrastination. I'm getting really good at it too!!!

And alas, my final issue.

3. Blogging ... For some reason lately my blogging goes like this. I get all excited to blog. I do the happy dance. I sing a song. (This is a dramatization...Poppins does not actually do a happy dance or sing.) Then I sit down and open up my blog ready for my bout of awesomesauce to spill across the page. But it doesn't. I worry my post isn't going to be funny or it's going to be boring. And all those fun little things. Then I sit and I stare at the computer screen for large amounts of time. This is kinda getting in the way of productivity.

Performance Anxiety kinda sucks. (Especially when you REALLY have to pee! Sorry Scott, I couldn't help myself there.) But I am determined to get over it and forge ahead. Look I've already started. I'm blogging as we speak! (Ok so as you read this I will have already blogged so that's not entirely true, but you get the point!)

What gives YOU performance anxiety???


Scott said...

Okay, you just had to "go" there, didn't you? LOL!

I'm right there with you on the query letter . . . and the procrastination. I get all angsty when I sit down to write my query. I know I shouldn't, but I do. Heck, I even have Elana's ebook, and still my palms get all sweaty and my heart begins to beat faster.

I'm taking the query in stages right now. I have the opening paragraph perfect. Now, I need to work on the second pargraph that pretty much sums up the story. I've been meaning to start that paragraph for a week now. It still hasn't happened.

OMG, you went "there" twice!! TWICE!!! Haven't I taught you about over-sharing??? It's not a good thing.


T. Anne said...

I think you just need to get your feet wet. Once you start you'll see it's not so bad to query. If the rejection is what has you tense just think of it this way, you need a number of rejections to get you where your going. I'm pretty sure nobody got it perfect the first time. Not even Stephen King. Feel better?

Karen said...

Ahh, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat...and the "blehh" of sitting in anxiety and fear.

For me, sending my work out be read (be it friends, family, or critiquers) triggers that performance anxiety. But interestingly enough, just my novel WIP. Not my pictures books. PBs, I'm fine anxiety-wise.

Tamika: said...

I think you named the biggies. For me, releasing hold of the results and trusting my voice are the key. My posts will probably never be funny, but I hope they reflect something my readers will be helped with.

Finding my voice in writing is just a challenge period. I'm told it comes the more I write.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I can definitely relate to #3Blogging. Being a blogger for only a month now, I often come up with super awesome tubular ideas and then I sit down and I usually write, but I realize the post is too pessimistic or disingenuous and then I just end up posting pictures of my puppies.

Well, the puppies are almost gone now and they can no longer act as my crutch. I think I just need to spend more time developing an idea and save it for another day so it can stew.

If you cannot think of anything either, take a shower and listen to the Beatles, it'll surely help!

Booklover1212 said...

Those are some big anxieties! Good luck with that query letter!!!

~ Jennifer

ajm said...

Have you sent out queries before? I'm looking forward to reading about the process as you go through it -- it's all new to me, and still very very very far away!

I'm a procrastinator too, but I find once I force myself to do whatever it is, I feel loads better about life in general. Just do it!

Marybeth Poppins said...

Oh Scott, I just couldn't help it! And yes twice!!! On a different note, I'm glad I'm not the only one procrastinating!

T. Anne thanks. I know it's not that bad. I've been out there before once and I know MANY an awesome writer has been turned down. It's just bracing myself for those rejections that is the hard part.

Karen blehh is the perfect way to describe it!!!

Tamika voice is very challenging. I'm still working on it. You'll get there though :)

Jonathon...pictures of puppies...lol I do the same thing though. Worry about if my post is too pessimistic. It's pretty easy to be negative and quite challenging to stay positive and up beat!

Thanks Jennifer!

ajm I have sent them out before. It's quite stressful. Are you writing too? I know I need to force myself, it's just working well. LOL

Jody Hedlund said...

There are so many things that we can worry about. And we can let our fears stop us from truly living. I worry that all the people who say "I can't wait to read your book" will pick it up and not like it. But what good does the worry do? It just drives me crazy! Instead, I'm trying to focus on each project and do the best I can.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Awww. Yeah we all get that. I just tell the performance anxiety to be quiet or go away.

Elana Johnson said...

There are so many things... Most of them are related to writing, sadly. I think I need a reminder of why we do this to ourselves!

And, dude, you can totally write that query letter. And then you'll send it out. And it will be awesome. You'll get requests. And then an offer... So don't think about the letter, think about what the letter can do! And then do it!!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You pretty much nailed the biggies of anxiety. I always feel major anxiety when I sit down to write my WIP, but it passes when I get going. :)

Marybeth Poppins said...

Jody your book is probably more than wonderful! But I totally understand the fear. When does this anxiety ever end! LOL

Frankie...I think I'm going to break up with performance anxiety. I've got a great friend Monday and I think they should date!

Thanks Elana. You rock the pep talks...I should put it on a sticky note and repeat it...hmmm....*looking for sticky note*

Shannon I hope your anxieties about writing go away! That's the super fun part :D

Mindy said...

Okay I'm the anxiety Queen lol...I'm anxious over everything... when it comes to performance anxiety it's usually anything with me in front of a live crowd. I haven't even done one query letter yet so I can just imagine myself fretting over something like that...it sucks being anxious!

Simon C. Larter said...

I don't get performance anxiety much. Perhaps it's the acting I did years ago. Perhaps it's because I often don't care what other people think of me, so just plow on and do my thing. It does hit every now and then, and when it does it's usually due to my own over-inflated expectations of myself. That's a good time to take a deep breath, relax, and write through it. (Or pee through it, as the case may be....) :)

Patti said...

I can totally relate. I procrastinated my query for months, but when I finally wrote it, it didn't feel that hard.

Just keep trying.

Valerie said...

I think the reason I've stalled in my revising is because I am deathly afraid of writing that query letter! I have the same issues, and all I think is, what if I write a letter so bad that no one wants to read my book and I blow through all my opportunities, even if my book is awesome! I wish you much luck with writing your query! If you ever want another set of eyes on your ms, I'd love to check it out!

Jill Kemerer said...

I go through this too! I've actually written my blog posts in Word, and that got rid of my block. Try it!

And as for rejections--well, try not to think about them. I don't know anyone who hasn't received at least one. I hope you don't get one, but if you do, you'll have plenty of support.

Crossing my fingers for you!

Jessica M. said...

Teenagers....teenagers give me anxiety. Good thing I'm a teacher, right? LOL oh well...life goes on. And sometimes, they're really great. It would just be much more awesome if they didn't stress me out so much!

Katie Ganshert said...

You can do it, girl! You can get past that anxiety! Just remember, if you get rejected, it's just a battle scar. Proof you're out there fighting!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Definitely the first two things! I hope I make the right decisions when it comes to querying and such! And that someone leaps at my idea!

Natalie said...

I had major anxiety over sending my manuscript to beta readers and I get stressed about blogging sometimes too. Good luck with your query!