Writers are strange little creatures. We have habits, comforts, ticks and phobias (and I use this word loosely). They are no different than others really except a lot of our issues are work-related. We like a certain type of pen to use when we interview. We have a certain creature comfort like coffee, well-sharpened pencils, etc. We also have certain phobias that will sometimes keep us from working to our greatest potential.
Today I thought I’d open up the discussion on phobias and together we can come up with solutions to help each other get through and maybe be a little less weird – oh who am I kidding :)!
It can become a problem when you take into account the quest of perfection or fear of not achieving perfection often leads to delayed assignments. A fear that the assignment isn’t perfect will have a writer either afraid to start an assignment or keep them from turning one in because of never-ending rewrites or tweaks.
One coping aid for a perfection quest is to make yourself start the article. Just start typing. Often when you start the rest will flow a little easier and you’ll wonder what was all the fuss. One trick for endless edits is to send your work to a friend – preferably a writer or editor – who can look over the piece and fawn over your smart and on point writing. Or at least they can give you a couple of spots to look at so you can satisfy that pesky “I know there is something wrong with it” feeling. Don’t use that last tip as a crutch though, you will need to be able to know when to stop on your own without always having an outside source pat you on the head.
Interviewing phobia can be intense. I have a problem with phone interviewing. Sure it’s easy and is often the only way you’re going to catch a source, but I hate the telephone. I have no problem interviewing, I have a problem lifting the phone off the cradle, dialing and waiting for the person on the other end to answer. Others may have trouble just talking to people in general, meeting for an interview can be kind of like meeting someone for a first date – intimidating and a little awkward at first.
In either case, interviewing anxiety often stems from either a lack of self-confidence on the writer’s part or an over active imagination. Interview subjects are usually a lot more nervous to talk to you and if you’re well prepared for an interview – a couple of ice breaking questions, boning up on background information, a firm grasp of basic interviewing techniques, you’ll soon find yourself over the jitters within the first few minutes of the conversation.
Not all of our fears/phobias can be worked out as easily as the ones above, but we can learn tips and tricks to manage them better. Don’t suffer through a fear, ask the FWJ community for help and learn how to manage it!
Got a phobia or a tip for overcoming one? Post it below!