Performance Anxiety

“…I feel more alive when I’m writing than I do at any other time—except when I’m making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the moment—the moment of writing, the moment of love. That perfect concentration is bliss.”

May Sarton (1912–1995), U.S. author. As quoted in Women Writers Talking, ch. 1, by Janet Todd (1983).

I live for those moments. Moments when the outside world is nothing more than ambient noise, like a tabletop fountain. The moments when writing is my only focus, when the words flow and my muse laughs in glee. When nothing is more important then the words spilling across the page–not my stomach, my bladder, my need for a shower.

Sometimes those moments are few and far between. Usually when a deadline is fast approaching, like the one I face now. That’s when my mind unfortunately gets in the way of doing what needs to be done. There are times when too much thinking can ruin a scene, much the way that too much thinking can ruin other pleasurable pursuits.

What if I don’t do it right? What if I don’t please anyone? What if I look like an idiot? What if I screw up so badly I’m never able to live it down?

The answer to those questions should be, “So what?”

Will the world end? When I be sent to jail? Will I go through 18 pints of Chunky Monkey? Be forced to run around the block naked singing “Gettin’ Jiggy Wi’ It”?

If the answer to all of that is no (Thank Goodness) then I guess there’s nothing else to hold one back. Stop thinking and start doing. Find that perfect moment of bliss.

There’s nothing to it but to do it!