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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GUEST POST: Fear Is The Mind Killer by G.T. Almasi



I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

I like to imagine that Frank Herbert wrote Dune’s Bene Gesserit “Litany Against Fear” more for himself than anyone else. Maybe he got The Fear like I do sometimes when I sit down to write. There are days when I can approach my writing with the necessary hubris right from the start, but on other days I feel a paralyzing anxiety that sucks my courage right out of me. The Fear is especially strong when I’m working on the original draft of new material. This is when the Litany comes in handy.

What I love about the Litany is how it encourages me to accept fear and anxiety as something common and natural, like hunger, or thirst. It also helps me see The Fear as coming from within myself, and allows me to tell myself, “There isn’t anything intrinsically scary about writing, I’m just making this fear happen to myself. It’s not like anyone’s watching me write, and if I don’t like what I write I just won’t show it to anyone.” Then I can peck away at my eternally discreet computer, which keeps all my secrets. It never tells anyone how many clutzy typos I make, or the way I figure out my dialogue by walking around the room rehearsing both sides of a conversation out loud, or how many dozen times I have to rewrite a chapter before I get it right.

Except for health issues, there are few things worth really worrying about, and writing is way-y-y down the list. Yet many times I still get The Fear and I have to do whatever works that evening to calm myself down. Sometimes it’s Herbert’s Litany, sometimes it’s blasting the Sex Pistols on my iPod, sometimes it’s reading a chapter from one of my favorite books.

Another thing I do is remind myself how much fun it is to spend time with my characters, to follow them around while they do all these cool things. Very often this gets a sentence going in my head; either a snappy line of dialogue or some snarky observation I can attribute to my main character. The next thing I know I’m off and writing.

If none of this works, I do some research to give me ideas for where to start. There’s always something for The Research Department to check into. Another thing that helps is when I talk to a friend about the book. It’s a non-threatening way to get the creative juices flowing.

Trepidation is as much a part of the writing process as inspiration, perspiration, rejection, and elation. As part of my process I sometimes have to force my way past The Fear so I can access the fun-filled landscapes of my imagination. Once I’m there, everything is okay and the only opinion that matters is my own.

From one of the greats:

When I was writing Dune there was no room in my mind for concerns about the book's success or failure. I was concerned only with the writing. Looking back on it, I realize I did the right thing instinctively. You don't write for success. That takes part of your attention away from the writing. If you're really doing it, that's all you're doing: writing.” - Frank Herbert

 I couldn’t say it better. - GTA


Order “Blades Of WinterHERE
Read an excerpt HERE
Read FBC's Review of Blades Of Winter
Read FBC's Interview with G.T. Almasi

AUTHOR INFORMATION: George T. Almasi graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration & Design and moved to Boston to pursue a career as a graphic designer. He has also previously been a bass player, and wrote and designed the band’s newsletter. Once his career as an art director took off, he continued to supplement his design talents by writing copy for his clients. As a novelist, his literary influences include Robert Ludlum, Neal Stephenson, and Hunter S. Thompson. He also draws inspiration from John Woo’s movies and Todd Howard’s videogames. He currently lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with his wife and their lovably stubborn dog, Ella.

2 comments:

Raber said...

hubris [ˈhjuːbrɪs], hybris n
1. pride or arrogance
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (in Greek tragedy) an excess of ambition, pride, etc., ultimately causing the transgressor's ruin

Raber said...

hubris [ˈhjuːbrɪs], hybris n
1. pride or arrogance
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) (in Greek tragedy) an excess of ambition, pride, etc., ultimately causing the transgressor's ruin

Think it is misused in the beginning...

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