Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The 3 F’s of Writing – Fiddling, Faffing, and Fear

Here I am with another post about writing and the struggles that writers face – well writers like me anyway.

Some would say that Fiddling and Faffing are pretty much the same thing, and fall into the same bag as procrastination, but I feel that fiddling is a little bit more constructive in that the intention is to do something - and you do, but not necessarily anything towards your writing. 

Fiddling for me consists of jumping back and forth between social networks; chatting to writer friends; reading friends flash entries or blog posts, and coming away feeling as though I have been busy and done something. I could even make a convincing argument (and have) that I did DO something, but it would be a con. 

Faffing (one of my all time favourite words) is, on the other hand, more about simply ‘thinking’ about doing writing related stuff – like this blog post. And even sitting  making lists, and feeling as though I am about to do something creative or effective, but in the end I just become overwhelmed by how much there is to do, or how much I want to do, and end up doing very little – maybe not even fiddling.

But often the basis of both of these – as well as the procrastination that many writers experience - is based off Fear. 

Fear of what? I hear you cry. 

Fear of not having anything to write.
Fear of what you do write being rubbish.
Fear of failing to achieve recognition about something you’re excited about.

And then there is the BIG fear, the opposite of the above:

Fear of success. 
 Fear of finding you can write, and good stuff that people want to read.
Fear of getting your work noticed.
Fear of having an agent/publisher interested.

You see, if we don’t really try, we don’t have to find out that we can’t do it - or worse, that we can! Because if we do, we risk finding out that it isn’t as good as the fantasy we have about being a successful writer. But then what if the fantasy does happen? What if an agent or publisher does want our work? Then we have to produce it - and under a deadline! And then what if they want to make lots of changes, and it no longer feels like it’s our work? What if we sign up for something we can’t do, or don’t want to do? What if it all goes wrong? – or worse still, what if it all goes right?!

And on, and on, until you overwhelm yourself.

Fear paralyses us, and often we just want to stay in our comfort zone of fantasy and ignorance, and not really push ourselves. We nurture our fears by telling ourselves lots of lies, about both our own writing, and other people’s. There are lots of what if’s, from the ‘my writings crap’ to the ‘who would want to read it anyway’, or ‘what happens once it’s published?’ to ‘do I have more books in me?’. But if we really want to have our writing read, on a global scale, we have to push through those fears and take the risk and come out of our comfort zone. We have to live on the edge and feel the adrenaline, because, after all, that’s what feeds the very writing we want to produce, isn’t it?

When dealing with this fear, I find informing myself helps; seeking those that know and have experienced what I want to achieve, and asking them how they did it, and what it’s like and all the ‘stupid’ questions that I lie awake pondering.

The only time we fail, is when we stop trying.

And then, as Yoda says, ‘Do or do not, there is no try’! (sorry couldn’t help myself).

So then I tell myself, stop your fiddling, stop your faffing, push through the fear and GET ON WITH IT!

A writer, writes. 


  1. It's like you're inside my head; I'm a professional faffer and I guess the proof is that when the laptop goes on, I'm here on FB then on blogs before even looking at my wips in docs that doesn't even require the internet except for a little research that then leads me back to, yes, FB! I always plan to do these things especially with the summer holidays and yet I haven't touched any of my novels that desperately need my attention! A very truthful insight into modern day writing. xxx

  2. I agree with Lizzie. It's as if, in writing this post, you must have rooted around in my brain.

  3. I fiddle and faff most of the time! Great post...now I'm going to go and DO something!! :)

  4. Glad it's not just me then! ( ; >