I've heard back from some of you, in relation to my blog posts, and wish to thank you for your encouraging comments and heartfelt condolences (my grandma's passing).
I hope to see more discussion happening around the scenarios I've put out there in my seminar questions... please don't hesitate to give me something to chew on.
The fear of writing and deadlines - I have two quotes (or paraphrasing, really): The minute you set out to write a masterpiece, you've already defeated yourself. - Patrick Lane
I love deadlines - I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by - Douglas Adams
First, the pressure a writer puts on themselves can be self-destructive. If you expect only greatness to happen in your writing and are afraid to write unless greatness comes, you are sunk. The reason? Writers can freeze up if they think they don't have anything spectacular to write, and if they are already evaluating the worth of the end product. It is writing suicide. This piece of wisdom is freeing for writers - write out the junk, if it is junk. The importance of writing is to keep writing. There are gems that you will be able to lure out later. As I was working on my novel, Turnstiles, I would refer to the manuscript as my first draft. A writing friend of mine helpfully pointed out that it was my 'zero draft', which meant I should not harness my writing or be too particular. My first draft would involve the editing part, my zero draft was meant for 'getting it all down'. I think this is an important approach to any writing. See the object, write the object - you can get it right later, after you've put it down on paper and looked at it from every angle.
As for deadlines acting as a writer's freeze, I don't find it to be an issue. I actually work best with deadlines. For me, I think there is a bigger fear of the world ending if I don't get a submission in on time. I tend to mentally whip myself for a week after, knowing there was an opportunity missed.
There is usually a fear of productivity in writing - lacking in it, the value of it, beginning it, and even completing it. Break off little bits, stay on track, give yourself small affirmations, and trust in the end result. Michaelangelo's David was once a huge slab of marble and, although they say that sculptors simply remove the excess clay or stone to reveal what is already there, they still had to chip away at it.