Monday, October 31, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Fright From Within - A Halloween Tale to Learn From

"Who do you think you are?" an owl hoots.
"No one cares about what you write, what you say or what's on your mind.  Why bother blogging or wasting your time with that stupid writing?" shrieks a banshee.
"No one - wait, I didn't say that strong enough - NO ONE will read what you write.  You are not JK Rowling and I can't believe you're trying to mash Stephenie Meyer and Rick Riordan.  How stupid are you?  Really?" mocks a jaded phantom.
"You can't seriously be considering self-publishing?  You can't draw stick figures right and editors are too expensive.  Can't happen.  Just can't," says a ghastly being anxious to hammer away at the existence of my dreams.  Before awakening, the being fades to the fringes of my mind, but I shudder at how much it looks like me.

This Halloween, I wanted to share with you the most frightening place I know.  It is the Fright From Within.

Welcome to Door E.  I call it the Embodiment of doubt.  It manifests itself and sometimes sends it's ghostly minions slithering beneath it's triple-steel, quadruple locked door, torturing my mind with its brash taunts, ridicules of my dreams and blatant kicks when I'm clearly feeling down.  It makes Mommy Dearest look like the Fairy Godmother. Sometimes, my mind messes up the following message:
"I want to talk to Rox and Doree today," somehow turning it into, "I want to unlock Door E today."  Don't ask me how the message get's jacked up, but it does, and this is my reaction:

Not good.

But I've gotten better at transitioning from that to this:
Yes, it is the Embodiment of Humor, a smile, a realization that self-deprecation is NOT a good thing.  When I get a giggle in, I start to Embrace the Dream, wipe some of the footprints left behind by the wiles of Self-Doubt and give My Dream a good look.  It takes a moment, but soon that idea for a new blog post doesn't seem so silly and that new chapter for the story reads better without the winds of Doubt howling in my ears.  I remember that I'm not Stephenie, Rick or Surely (Madagascar II fans probably got that along with the original source).  I'm me.  A writer, a reader and someone with a dream.  My path may not be the easiest and my way may not be clearly marked with neon arrows telling me exactly which way to go.  But all of this Self-Edification drives the Fiends of Doubt back behind Door E.

Of course, such an event calls for a heart to heart with management for letting them out in the first place.  Have to go over that whole Pandora analogy.

So this Halloween, while vampires, ghouls, witches and zombies are all the rage, try to keep a good eye on the Fright that lies within.  It's a fiend that will go bump in the daytime as well as at night.  It will try to stop you from publishing that book, or seeking representation for that story or researching for that book that doesn't seem to have many writers addressing that niche.  It's one of those things that doesn't want to stop.  What are your thoughts about the Fright from within?


Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes the fright within is scary and depressing. Usually creeps up when I'm tired.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh my gosh, I just left another blog with the same topic. I guess it is perfect for Halloween.

The trick to fend off fiends, real or imagined is to have friends that have your back. Not for empty rah-rahs, but plain old support.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It tells us that even if we've done it once, we'll never do it again. Stupid doubt.

Angelina Rain said...

Oh yes, that old fright from within. I've dealt with it many times. Now, I just got a million deatbolts on that door. Try to come through it now, Doubt!

Mike Keyton said...

Angela, great post. My greatest fear is being away from the keyboard for a period of time - say a holiday - then returning to face a blank screen with a blank mind. The fear is the mojo or muse hasn't yet returned from its vacation, and might choose not to do so

E.R. King said...

I know many people who live in constant fear of one thing or another. Fright/fear isn't seasonal, it lives in us all. I wish I could be fight free!

Anonymous said...

Great post Angela and perfect for Halloween.

I'm with Maria: The trick to fend off fiends, real or imagined, is to have friends that have your back. Not for empty rah-rahs, but plain old support.

LD Masterson said...

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm afraid everytime I put a post on my blog that no one (read NO ONE) will read or comment. Scary.

J. A. Bennett said...

I hate that self doubt! it is a very scary monster! I just tell myself that it doesn't hurt to give it a shot. I will never be a failure becasue I went for it and tried my best and didn't let that self-doubt get me down. Great post!

Angela Brown said...

Friends are pretty cool to have. I've found the writing community to be a great place to be. So many people know where you're coming from, what you're dealing with. Man, I love you guys>-)

Anonymous said...

I guess we all have to fight against the "Fright from within" but one day it will be worth the fight. That's my hope anyway :)

Olga said...

I don't know about others, but I really enjoy reading your posts. Your words flow in a beautiful and natural stream. They can even be hypnotic :)

Sophia Chang said...

hahaha great post Angela!!

The monster that emerged today is the "I slept for 3 hours and now I have to move my apartment" beast. Totally terrifying!

Candy Fite said...

Angela, you know from my post late last week that the fright inside of me is much like yours. I recently joined the Warm Fuzzies blog fest, hoping it'll help clear the negative.

I loved your post!!! Thanks for sharing. :))

Angela Brown said...

These comments have re-affirmed some things that I shouldn't forget but, yeah, sometimes I do.

I am not alone in dealing with these inner doubts, dealing self-inflicted wounds without provocation. Thank you to everyone who's commented. I hope this post has been a comfort, re-affirmaton or an enjoyable stop for each and everyone of you.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Interesting post, I like it! It does take a lot of courage to face up that Fright from Within, much more than it does to take on vampires and ghosts. :)

Anonymous said...

You've written something that has crossed my mind, but that I've never put into words.

I'm getting better at fending off the frights from within, though. They're less scary, but always something I'll have to contend with.

Angela Brown said...

It's interesting, at least when it comes to vampires, ghouls and goblins, there are a lot of ways imagined to get rid of them once and for all.. I've wondered, sometimes, if there isn't a permanent fix for the "No More Self-Doubt Woes."

Until then, I'll enjoy the support of good friends in helping me to contend with them.

Nadja Notariani said...

Couldn't have said it better - or in a funnier manner.

Are you in the Insecure Writer's Support Group? You should be...this post rocks! Link it in tomorrow..they post on the first Wednesday of each month.

...'a talk with management'...too funny, really.

Christy Farmer said...

Sometimes the scariest ghosts are the ones we have to (internally) face. Great post Angela! :-)

Post a Comment

Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.