I’ve found when I’m feeling tense before a gig, the only cure for it is to do the gig. In twenty minutes, I’ll be feeling different.
There’s a different kind of stage fright for writers. The scary venue is a blank page, and the gig starts when you sit down to fill it.
Unlike live gigs, nobody knows about this gig. There’s nobody there to impress, no friends to egg you on. You can just walk away from it. The person who booked you (you) will understand. Unfortunately.
You won’t tell yourself you got stage fright and chickened out, you’ll tell yourself the dishes needed doing, or you needed to send some emails, or…
How to beat the blank page?
Maybe a way to deal with it is to actually treat it like an actual gig.
Like with stage fright, the only cure for page fright is to do the gig. Like with live performances, when you start it’ll be awful, and then it’ll be awful some more, and then there’ll be moments where it’s not awful and you realise you were learning something all that time you were suffering.
You might actually find these gigs are way nicer than live gigs. At writing gigs, when you’re a struggling open spot, nobody sees. When you start ripping it, you can make it so everybody sees.
(I remember one comic I talked to describing writing as the actual job, and the gig as the drive home after the job…)
Like with your live gigs, the first rule is show up. Regularly. Pull some strings and book yourself for a residency.
Note, I said the gig starts when you sit down to fill the blank page. That’s when it starts. The mission is to sit down and write. Not to write The Greatest Thing Ever. Just show up. The masterpiece will follow.
Don’t leave me hanging!