Writing & Not Feeling Qualified

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently. Possibly it’s because of NaNaWriMo, maybe because my coworkers have been asking how my novel has been coming along. They’re excited about it.  I’m too ashamed to tell them that I haven’t looked at it in 3 months, even though I think about the main character, Sydney, every time I listen to a punk song. So, I asked myself, “I love this character, why am I not writing her story?”


More than that, there’s something about the process that has made writing difficult lately. The act of showing my thoughts to the world and what may come back to me isn’t that frightening. I don’t usually start out to open a dialogue between myself and the reader. I write just to get the words out of my head. At least once a day I compose an essay style piece in my brain around a topic that I’ve been mulling over. It’s one way I process things I’m currently obsessing over and if they have substance I want to share them. They very rarely, if ever, make it down on paper. Why?

I’ve determined it’s a mix of confidence and feeling like I shouldn’t have an opinion on certain topics (music & improv are the big ones). I still need to get the words out, but there’s actual fear holding me back from publishing it. After all, don’t you need experience to write about stuff? I read that on the internet somewhere. I mean, I’m only taking improv classes, what do I know? I’ve only listened to punk music for a couple years. Apparently two years ago today I talked about my first punk mixtape on this blog. Sure, when I find a band I like I try to jam 10+ years worth of being a fan into two months, but I still didn’t know them before. 

When I type this out it’s so silly sounding, but it’s exactly the way I think!

It’s not just essays. These feelings also exist in my fiction.

I started writing a Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover and I was terrified about getting the Trek facts wrong. I did so much research, but I still felt like I hadn’t watched enough. It wasn’t about being wrong, it was being labeled a fake. It was about always taking the safe route. I stopped to re-read it and I realized the characters sounded like bad parodies of themselves. I had McCoy saying, “Dammit Jim” because that’s his catch-phrase. The story gained nothing from it and I looked like a very poor writer.

I can hear you asking, what does all that have to do with this blog? Well, I haven’t been writing essays in this blog that reflect who I am. I take my thoughts and ideas and twist them into a pre-set “blog” format and then try to get them to make sense, but not ruffle any feathers. I have been so worried about others criticizing my writing and my opinion. (Never fear I’m never talking about politics, ever, as a general rule). If there is a wrong way to run a blog, that is it. I was caring about all the wrong stuff!

I think some Frank Turner lyrics seem apt here: 

You’re not as messed up as you think you are
Your self absorption makes you messier
Just settle down and you would feel a whole lot better
Deep down, you’re just like everybody else
Fun fact: My next tattoo will feature a lyric from that song.

With my fic, I ditched what I had written, took a night off without taking in anything from that universe and came back to it with fresh eyes. I remembered Stephen King’s advice in ON WRITING, let the characters tell the story and just write it down for them. This time McCoy sounded like McCoy, but from an episode I had never seen before. I was writing down what the Enterprise was going through rather than shoving them into a pre-set plot. It was freeing.

I’m not fulfilling what this blog was meant to be. I’m a fangirl. I obsess, I squee, I guess and get it wrong. I learn from that obsession and after taking a bit as a keepsake move on. Sometimes I come back to it, sometimes I don’t. I have learned so many things because of TV shows, fandoms, bands, etc. the list goes on.


In this age where everyone has an opinion and lots of people are expressing them, the last thing that should be happening is holding back thoughts and opinions on things you really enjoy, simply because of what someone else might say.

So, I’m promising now (perhaps to just myself, but I hope also to the reader) that I’ll write about what I learn through being me, even if people disagree with me or I may be lacking some facts. Maybe I’ll even misinterpret something and come to a conclusion based on that. There will be thoughts about things I feel I’m not “qualified” enough to talk about like improv. Rants about stuff I can’t get out of my head like Home Street Home (a musical), thoughts about bands like NOFX, the Weakerthans and Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls and about the label “punk”. I imagine I’ll talk about a lot of labels. I like labels. 

I hope you’ll join in on the discussion.

5 thoughts on “Writing & Not Feeling Qualified

  1. I can’t write fan fiction for the reasons you stated earlier. I don’t want to mess things up. My neighbors are weekend Klingons (for serious!) and I know they would nitpick my fic to death. I admire anyone who does fan fic. I’m not brave enough to enter someone else’s world!

    I was listening to old school punk during the November challenge as well.


      • REALLY old stuff: Richard Hell and the Voivods, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Scraping Foetus, DRI, Revolting Cocks. Crusty oldies!

        My draft was fantasy, but based loosely off my time in the queer punk scene in San Francisco in the late 80s early 90s. So it helped set my mood.


  2. freyburg says:

    When I write fanfiction, I make a point of annoying nerds and pedants, and that way the ball’s already in their corner. Audience feedback can be tough, but years of getting “well, actually”-ed by (a few) RFS listeners has helped build callouses against their finger wagging. It’s your story, and you don’t
    owe the audience anything. Write to make yourself happy first and everything else second.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s