Fears of Writers #2

By Bhalachandra Sahaj

afraid of writing

In my previous post, I wrote about one of my fears connected to being a writer. This topic suddenly turned out to be very real; during weekends, I realized why I did and didn’t do some things in writing. One of such things is explaining.

I realized my writing can be super-explanatory. I looked over my old stories and almost all of them had extremely detailed descriptions of why characters acted this or that way, what exactly happened, and the reasons behind certain events. What was more unpleasant to me is that even my recent writing is sometimes the same; personally, detailed explanations seem to be necessary, for some reason. And why, I needed to figure out.

As a reader, I like it when a book’s plot is clear and comprehensible. Apart from those writers who write in a surrealistic and an intertextual manner on purpose, I do not appreciate when a story has logical gaps, or has some crucial events omitted, described in a vague or unspecific way. This makes me want to throw the book away, because I lose a great amount of energy trying to figure out what exactly is going on, instead of just enjoying reading.

When I write my stories (okay, whenever I write anything, be it an article, a novel, or a blog post), I try to make every single piece of it easy to understand. I re-read my writing dozens of times to check if there isn’t missing details, logical mistakes, or something that can obstruct the reading flow. Thinking that my writing can be unclear or tangled is unpleasant to me. In this case, I stop liking what I write, and moreover, I believe my readers would like imperfect writing much less (whatever “imperfect writing” means).

At the same time, I have a strange feeling when I was writing occasionally. Even when everything seems “clear,” there is still something wrong about it. It sounds cumbersome and excessive, and only after I start to think about writers’ fears, I realize what exactly is wrong: explanations. The more concerned I am about the comprehensibility of my writing, the more complicated my explanations become.

Try to analyze your writing and figure out what makes it the way it is. Are you satisfied with how you write? What annoys you in your (and others’) writing? Finally, what are you afraid of in writing? What would make your writing worse, and what are you trying to avoid when writing? Answering these questions can be helpful, trust me.

Clear and logical writing does not need to be overburdened with “clarifying” parts—I can see it now.

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