No Big Deal Syndrome

Do you find yourself unable to break the inertia of not writing in your work-in-progress? Several times a week or month do you sit down in front of said piece, type perhaps a word or two, and then retreat from so much as even looking at it for weeks on end, despite wanting to get to it? Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or even your personal journals seem like judgmental strangers, and you can barely bring yourself to work on them.

It’s more than mere procrastination, from which we all suffer. And of course you have already ruled out underlying medical and mental conditions and illnesses.

You know it isn’t writer’s block, because you suffer no void of ideas and concepts to explore. In fact, the unpleasant mindset of which I speak can only coincide with a fairly well-defined project—a well-defined project you simply cannot bring yourself to visit, even though you are clearly not lazy.

Could it be that confidence hobgoblin that that often follows artists about, the so-called Imposter Syndrome? After all, that toxic mindset does indeed present as a persistent belief that one is not as talented or worthy of accolades as others may say. This may certainly slow down our daily word count.

Yet you do feel, most of the time, that you are in fact an artist, and as such have every right to create art. You feel like an impostor when you succeed at times, but in the privacy of your own thoughts you find your self-worth as a creator is in tact for the long haul.

Still, a constraint, as invisible as it is pervasive fetters you and makes even a well-planned writing session as daunting as swimming a rough ocean.

To coin a phrase, I ask you if perhaps you are suffering from No Big Deal Syndrome.

Aside from what I mentioned above, symptoms can include a pervasive lack of willingness to invest time or energy into your story—a procrastination of sorts, brought on by a latent feeling of inequality to the task of writing your particular piece.

I admit, it sounds similar to Impostor Syndrome at first pass. Yet instead of feeling you do not deserve success, what you are actually struggling with in No Big Deal Syndrome is the belief that your story, poem, article, is by its nature not significant enough to justify all of the time you need to set aside for it.

This doesn’t refer to accumulating awards and accolades for a piece. Right or wrong there are at least perimeters and requirements that must be met for most of the specific awards out there. If we are not writing something that conforms to those expectations, we aren’t likely to expect out work has a chance in running that gauntlet.

No, it’s the pieces we write for ourselves at first, or for smaller, less defined readership. Or the things we write about because we simply “have to” get them written. Words that when they first come to us won’t let us sleep until we jot them down.

It could even be the idea of writing a little bit of anything each day that stymies us with NBD Syndrome. After all, if our writing, our ideas, our concept isn’t significant to us, if it becomes, “no big deal,” we are going to have a difficult time mustering from within us the proper investment required to bring it to bare.

There are only two ways to combat MGD Syndrome. The incredible thing is, both “cures” are polar opposites.

First, consider that it is a big deal, whatever it is. It’s a big deal because the vast majority of people never bother to create. It’s a big deal because its yours. (Not because it is 100% original in every aspect, which is impossible.) It’s a big deal to be an artist, and artist create stuff. It’s a big deal because…it is a big deal.

To the contrary, you might ironically get past the numbing effects of NBD Syndrome by concluding that “big deals” are in and of themselves “no big deal.”  Why does something have to be a big deal, anyway? Artists tend to yoke themselves, or allow the world to yoke them with the idea of being a big deal, and creating a big deal. If you can’t buy into your own artistic significance, buy into the fact that you don’t need to be significant in the first place.

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