“There is nothing to fear except fear itself,” was once proclaimed, or so I vaguely recall. There is probably more context to that quote*, but I’m an American. We don’t care about context. Or, I could insert “English Major,” and the saying might be the same, depending on where you are going to Uni.
I realized too late that I had failed to inquire precisely what the English department at my chosen CSU espouses. There are many thoughts on literary interpretation. Some professors believe that nothing the author said or did or thought matters when examining a work. The first significant wall I hit in CC was an English prof who taught this way but never actually explained what she was doing. As someone who had read almost everything we were going to read for class, I only thought she was an arrogant bitch. It should go without saying that things did not go well for either of us. She was certainly glad to be rid of me, and I do not blame her. I hope she’s learned to explain her processes better. I know I have learned to try to figure out what the prof’s philosophy is.
That distaste for what I viewed as arrogance is not my major fear, however. My fear is writing, then subsequently being rejected–getting a bad grade, etc. It is a problem I’ve been aware of for several years, even as I transitioned away from Biology to English, with a minor in (insert whatever science I can get into at my chosen school).
When I first became aware of it, I stuffed it deep. Fear had no place. I had to adopt the Growth Mindset. I had to apply Grit. I had to have Perseverance and Sisu. In short, I had to ignore all the bad feelings because those are what cause the problems. As a result, things have not gone well for me. Each paper I have to write brings a terror that usually freezes me, though sometimes I get into fight mode. (Flight, but that’s really impractical now, so I only have those two modes.) This modus operandi is untenable since I will be writing for the rest of my life.
Freezing and panicking while I am writing for school shuts down my freewriting as well. My creativity vanishes when I am dragging myself through the term. I used to justify it as me needing all my energy for school. It’s obvious, however, that this is not what’s happening. When this happens, I can only function in one area, and that has to be school (ask my kids, they can tell you). Due to the ongoing stresses of transferring and my kids’ health issues of late, I haven’t even done any research this summer. That is very unusual for me. I enjoy research whether or not I’m getting a grade for it.
I have tried to think of ways to overcome these fears. I landed on anonymity, which sounds great, except I only like anonymity in every area of life except writing. I often wonder if I should venture outside my tiny little fandom at AO3 and write for an audience with far more people. (I have been working on a Blood, Sweat, and Tears—BTS story for a while but hasn’t developed far because–stress.) Anonymity in writing is the only thing I fear more than rejection in writing. I thought, possibly, if I can face the anonymity that blogging usually brings to writing, then it might feel better when I have to write a paper I know will be read.
Hey, I know it’s weird logic, but hardly anyone’s going to read it, so I can be as weird as I want. 😋
*I am actually aware of the context now, after I wrote it. I cannot let such a thing go. When I have a question I must find an answer.