So the question is...how do I get out of that space? How to I move myself back into a place where the writing process and the fun of creating something outbalances the voices in my head that taunt "You will fail! Miserably! Don't even try. That way you won't embarrass yourself." That kind of thinking makes me hesitate to write down anything, no matter what it is. It makes me self censor before I have even done anything. It quelches good ideas before I have had the chance to mold them into something useable.
Fear of failure has haunted me my whole life. It has kept me from doing many things that might have been fun or successful. Or even made me happy. Some days it makes me scared to leave the house. It hampers my job search. And no matter how many wins I have, the fails feed the fear monster. They validate it's claims. I don't care who you are, the number of fails will always outnumber the wins. Always. People aren't successful because they always win, they are successful because they learn from their fails and keep going. When you are in the grips of this monster you look at the number of fails and want to concede to it's logic.
I have also had this fear that I will keep doing something not because I might eventually be successful but because I am deluded about how good it really is or how good I really am. I come from a family who tend to not look reality in the face. They like to pretend things are better than they are, they like to pretend things that happened didn't happen. And they like to think they are being successful and doing good, when a dose of reality would actually make them see what needs to be changed.
Where is that balance between wishful, magical thinking and harsh reality check? Too much of one and you delude yourself into thinking things are great when minor tweaks might make it spectacular. Or it may turn a spectacular idea into trash because you don't see enough of the real warts to be able to develop it to it's potential. You need to see the warts in order to be able to remove them. It impedes common sense. However too much reality check stops the creativity process altogether. If some of our major inventors had too much reality check, we wouldn't have the majority of the things we do now. How does one find the perfect balance? How do you find that place where you see the reality, and keep going anyway?
I think what I need to do is learn to trust my reality. I need to learn to trust what I am seeing is neither overinflated nor underinflated. I have a lot of flaws, but my common sense is something I pride myself on. Not that I always act on my common sense, but it is there and it is strong.
So now the question is what can I do to drag myself out of this mire I have dragged myself into? What can I do that will help me change my mindset?
I recently acquired an audiobook copy of Tina Fey's Bossy Pants. I realize that this book is not in any way a deep philosophical self help book. However there is a section of the book where she discusses the Yes, And... imrpov game. The game goes like this....no matter what the other person says, no matter how stupid or idiotic, you accept it and add to it. Your addition can help tweak the bad idea into something more palatable. The point being to take an idea and see how far you can take it before you reject it. She talks about in reference to her improv and comedy writing experience.
I think I can take that idea and use it for this. The whole idea of Yes, And... is to get yourself and your teammates out of the negative rejection cycle we tend to get into when we are under pressure. My theory is the more I practice that mindset and get myself thinking that way, the easier it will be to keep myself out of the clutches of the fear monster in the first place. It will help me focus on the process rather than on the product.
Ok....so....I suppose I will start that by posting several Yes, Ands.... and then posting the results. I think I would just cop out if I don't have the accountability of a post. I don't know how often I will do it. I should do it every day.
Right now it is only 11:30am. So I will post one now and post the results by the end of the day.
So today's Yes, And...
*Charlie, where did you get that dead rabbit?
Now my job is to create a dialog around that opening sentence. Wish me luck. :) I hope this works.
Edit: Wow. I did not realize how fast my instincts are to copy my favorite comedy. My first draft turned into a parody of the dead parrot sketch from Monty Python. Second turned into an Abbot and Costello sketch. This might be easier if I had someone else to play off of. Ok. Back to the trenches.
Edit #2: I just noticed a spike in views, yet I have no comments. If you are going to lurk, might as well go to my Douglas Adams Tribute Contest Video and vote for me. :)