It’s a prevailing emotion in my world.  I fluctuate between having the confidence to speak my mind and stick my neck out when the situation requires, and paralysing paranoia that I’ve said or done the wrong thing, or that what I’ve said has been misinterpreted in some way.

The same thing applies when I’m writing, I (generally) like what I write because I know the pace that it should be read at, the irony that sometimes need to be applied and the motivation and back story for the whole thing.  But my readers don’t and that could lead to confusion or even offence- neither of which are going to do me any favours.

In the last month or so, thanks to a good dollop of inspiration from Judith’s Room and some lovely people on Twitter I’ve started to write more about the things I want to write about, things that start to sketch out the full picture of who I am.  I’ve also had conversations with people based purely on a series of 140 character tweets or comments left on blogs and it’s been hilarious at times although not always.  I worry that people will misinterpret my statements, remembering only after I hit ‘send’ that they don’t ‘really’ know me, don’t have a clue that I’m not trying to offend but that my interpretation of things is not always in line with everyone else’s.  I’ve tortured myself about whether I should go back and delete comments or tweets, finally reassuring myself that I’m really not that important and the likelihood of unwittingly offending someone is very slim- but still it prevails.

I wonder if it’s a ‘me’ thing or if it’s common to everyone?  Is it an only child thing?  Used to living life on the periphery, when you actually break in to something it’s all you can do not to gather up your petticoats and run screaming for the door marked ‘viewing gallery’…. I don’t like feeling this way but I do think it makes me more sensitive to other people’s feelings and maybe a touch more sympathetic at times, but generally it just makes me, well, weird!

It’s all come to a head today.  I’m writing a short story and I’ve got an editor who, following an initial conversation, has expressed an interest in the concept.  This has evoked the following thought process:-

1. OMG, amazing!  He said he was interested! He didn’t say “that’s a hopeless idea, stop infecting my airspace with your whimsical nonsense”

2. OMG, I’ve only got 500 words on paper – I’ve got to write the rest now!

3. OMG, this is crap – no one is ever going to want to read this…

4. FML, who am I kidding?

5. *suicidal* I’m rubbish, everybody hates me…..

So now I have to give myself a good poke in the ribs and bloody well get on with it, but it’s not easy is it?

Tagged on:                         

24 thoughts on “Paranoia….

  • January 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    i also go through the crises of confidence that affect all creative people. (or should – anyone who thinks they’re perfect all the time is a bore – and probably a boor.)

    Especially under pressure – i said in public i expected my work in progress to be finished at the end of February, ready for initial edits. Of course, since then i’ve lost 2 weeks work (i went off plot, had to delete 12,000 words to save the book), and have spent the last 2 days not writing at all because i’m annoyed at my characters. 😛 temperamental, me?

    Reading this post reminded me – time i got off my butt and back in the saddle. As you’ve discovered, there are some good people on Twitter, and on the #amwriting hashtag – i find them inspiring 🙂 It’s where i found you.

    Hang in there. Go on, write that story. 🙂 Good luck.

  • January 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for this, it helps alot to find people going through the same thing and I must delve deeper in the #amwriting hashtag.

    I know what you mean about the pressure- until I spoke to anyone my story was just a frivolity, something I could dip into whenever it suited. Now I’m staring at it, daring it to do something interesting and wanting it to be complete… how do you know when that is by the way?!

    Good luck with your book- that’s a major undertaking! I think setting targets is good, but forgiving yourself for not meeting them is better… 🙂


  • January 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Excellent – thankyou! When I manage to overcome the paranoia demons I’ll give it a try…


  • January 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I just love the way that you express yourself Paula. We all have saboteurs but you make them more real and from a coaching perspective, ridiculing them and making fun of them, takes their power away.

  • January 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks Kate, that’s a lovely thing to say. I know what you’re saying but it’s tough sometimes to silence those dissenting thoughts…


  • January 27, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Yay, short story on the way! That’s amazing news.

    I think everyone has moments of self-doubt – the only people in my experience who don’t tend to be the ones who really could do with them!

  • January 28, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Thanks R – think you’re right. Am determined that next blog post will be filled with lots of happy thoughts!


  • January 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Outwardly, I’m THE most confident person you’ll ever meet – I keep myself busy, I enjoy my job, I encourage my children, I’m enjoying my OU course, I hold the family together.

    On the inside, I’m the LEAST most confident person you’ll ever meet – I’m wibbling constantly (just short of having two pencils stuck up my nose), I panic that I’m not good enough at my job, I worry that my children aren’t fulfilling their potential, I’m struggling on my OU course because there never seems to be enough peace and quiet to study and I’m not really holding the family together… my husband is doing a much better job at that than me currently.

    However, I believe it’s how you organise these things in your life – prioritise and if you start thinking positively then positive things start happening and that’s what’s happening with my writing at the moment. I’m enjoying the “flow” and hope that something will come of it.

  • January 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks Nickie, I think you’re right. I do feel like I’m still climbing out of a terribly negative phase of my life and I NEVER have enough time to do all the things I want to do. Prioritising might mean compromise in some areas but it also means facing things realistically – definitely something I need to do more of.

    As for you – I know you’ll get there!


  • January 28, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I agonise over pretty much every single thing I do, write and say. It is utterly exhausting!

    (P.S. I am a middle child)

    Really liking your blog.

  • January 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    We’re pretty much all the same then! It’s a hopeless cause….!

    Tthanks for your lovely comment. I’m liking yours too – Google Reader is fab isn’t it? Loved that post (what’s it all about?)- completely resonated, and we were having the same conversation on Twitter today, which by the way you should absolutely join. It’s another part of the jigsaw. Look me up – I’m peabee72 and I’ll happily introduce you to some lovely folk…


  • January 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I have to say (helloooooooooo btw) that I think the cleverer (yes, its word) of us DO worry and suffer from paranoia.

    We aren’t sociopaths nor are we stupid enough to pootle through life unawares.

    So: bask in your intelligence and your utterly normal psyche.

  • January 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks Queen E, and helloooo right back atcha. You’re prob’ly right and I appreciate the sentiment… I’m basking – watch me bask!


  • January 28, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    This is the thing: I truly think the more intelligent and not-mental of us DO worry a lot more than those at either end of the scale. We’re clever enough to be aware OF the other ends of the scale.

    Thats FAR more eloquent than before. God bless wine.

  • January 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Wine – the philosopher’s tool (God, I really should be in advertising!)

    You’re right E, I see it every day although I obv think that I’m the only one who notices… nice to have company 🙂


  • January 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    You advertise like Chandler Bing: Cheese – it’s milk that you chew.

  • January 30, 2010 at 1:52 am

    LOLOL 🙂

  • January 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    You are right. It isn’t easy at all. I used to be very paranoid. I suffered badly from depression for making years and I think it was definitely linked to that. I had little self-worth and seemed to think everyone was attacking me. I could find a negative in anything and everything. I’m much better now but I still have the odd moment of self-doubt and then paranoia creeps in.

  • January 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you – I will let you know when I do finally join up! S x

  • Pingback:In Cyberspace No One Can Hear You Smile… « Battling on…

  • February 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Rosie, sorry that this is such a late reply. It’s a horrible feeling isn’t it? I do think it’s as much to do with self-awareness as anything and for those of us who over-analyse it’s easy to let the negative thoughts win out….

    FWIW, I really enjoy your writing and self expression so do keep on keeping on x

  • February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Are you kidding? I live with one foot in my mouth at all times, I am forever saying the wrong thing, upsetting people and blurting out half formed thoughts that made perfect sense in my head but in words just sound rude and insulting.

    I do this in real life face to face too, not just in the confines of Twitter and comments. Sometimes I sit cringing over comments I’ve written waiting for a nasty email sure that people will misunderstand me.

    Sometimes i meet wonderful people that just ‘get’ me and suddenly I feel such release, such happiness its like i was holding my breath but realise only as I exhale.

    You are one of those actually, on Twitter especially. I read some of your tweets and laugh out loud because i know you will understand me and not be offended by some of the things that pour from my fingers.

  • February 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks H, and ditto to the sentiment x

    It’s one of the pitfalls of being brave enough to ‘put yourself out there’ I s’pose and you can either be completely MOR or you can be honest and occasionally slip up.

    I’ll always make mistakes and misguided comments but it’s nice knowing that there are lovely people like you there nodding sympathetically and helping to pick up the pieces xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *