Fear of publishing -- or an inner editor?

Fear of publishing -- or an inner editor?

We’ve had some computerized discussions here at Chicago Now about “fear of publishing” — the idea that oh, I wrote something, but what if I publish it?

Longtime and/or regular readers of these items may have inferred that this isn’t my problem. But I have a draft in my Margaret Serious software that is waiting to go out.

It’s not scheduled, as some are when I have enough ideas and not enough time to get them out. It’s just not good enough for you to see. It’s not what I want.

You see, rather than fear of publishing, I have an inner editor — let’s call her Margaret Very Serious — who doesn’t let me send out what’s not ready or what’s not my best work. (My best at the time, of course.)

Having worked as an editor myself, I know the questions Ms. Very Serious has to ask about any of the pieces I’m ready to post. Here are some of them — remember, questions I’m really asking myself:

Is this all I have?

Is this too long? If so, where can I cut out the chaff?

Have I linked it to other posts — my own, or source material to show where I got the idea?

(The draft has a great source link. I just haven’t turned it into what I want it to turn into… unless it was this post. Hmm.)

Do I really need to mention Sir Arthur Conan Doyle again? (Of course I do. I’m just one book away from starting to re-read the book that Mike and Daisy are reading in the book I’m writing.)

Is there any link to my imagined visits from Robert Louis Stevenson? (Aw, come on, there always is!)

Did I put the little Facebook ID on the end? Oh yeah, here it is now!


Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.



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  • There's an easy way to overcome this that has worked for me for 40 years. Something leaves the manual typewriter (then) or is emailed (now) by the deadline in publishable (not perfect) condition by the deadline or I don't get paid or more work.

    The real question is writers' block, and I have never been able to write anything original.

  • In reply to jack:

    Dear Jack, I'm sorry for the delay in replying. I just can't agree with your last sentence. I refer you to "The Adventure of the Missing Quotations" -- the one about modesty. I find your comments consistently original. There, be accurate about that.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    As far as original, I was referring to professional writing.

    Aside from nobody paying me to publish comments, I attribute most of them (including on Comics Kingdom Disqus) to off beat mental association. Also, on the issue of blogs, Jimmy Greenfield once e-mailed me whether I wanted one, and I said no, because I am mostly reactive. As I just was.

    But I'll never be able to write a novel on "Zdeno Chára--Brookline Philosopher Takes a Gut Czech." And as you can tell, the title is certainly derivative.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I certainly enjoyed the title of the novel (more than watching Chara play against the Hawks). Thanks.

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