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a lesson learned writing

One thing I have learned this semester:

Writing for publication = so very different than any writing I have done so far.

I’ve been writing for a few professional blogs this semester and writing some book reviews for print publications. While I’m an old hat at writing for myself in this white blog box, I am still very new at writing and hitting “send.”

The anxiety is high.

I rarely write formal drafts for academic papers and fiction revising still eludes me, but now that I know it’s going directly in the hands of someone else who can decide whether to post or toss, I am a drafting queen. I look over things dozens of times before I’m comfortable. I need to figure out how to do this without missing deadlines (although not being so freaking busy would help).

I have zero faith in my abilities.

This is totally different than my blogging, my academic work. When I blog, I assume 2 people are reading (hello, 2 people!), so I trust myself to throw together a few sentences. I make little distinction between a “good blog” and a “bad blog” because it’s just me, sitting here, throwing spaghetti on the kitchen wall of the Internet to see what sticks, making bad metaphors, taking names… When I write papers, I stress, but I know deep down that I am an A- student. Anything higher, I’m on my game. Anything lower, I was probably slacking in some way. And the A- is good for me, it really is, so even in the worst of paper-writing throes, I know it’ll all work out.

That completely disappears when I’m writing for other folks. I am new, so I must not know what I’m doing. I don’t. Am I writing this book review properly? Does my tone fit in with the tone of this site? Am I too confusing, too cliched, too this, too that?

Whatever part of me thinks I am a competent writer leaves the room.

It’s not as fun/exciting/engaging as “Freelance Writing” sounds.

Again, I’m new, but so far it’s just anxiety and self-doubt.

Glamour level = zero.

But here’s the thing: despite what’s going on in my brain,

The results have been fine.

Faith in myself, flexibility, thicker skin, and persistence, I think will come with practice. Painful practice, but like running, maybe not painful every time or forever?

Blogging is easier because my sensitive soul avoids the scrutiny of others.

Papers are easier because I’ve been in school for 20 years.

But I think I’ll figure out this other stuff soon enough.

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