Purpose of IWSG: to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
To join IWSG visit
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh here.


As somewhat of an expert at out-of-state license conversions, I spent my first few weeks in Massachusetts dreading the process. I knew from experience what misery would ensue: the endless forms, the waiting, the questions, and oh yes, those nagging doubts.

What if Massachusetts doesn’t want me?

What if MassDOT is suspicious because I move around so much?

What if they ask me to take a driving test down unfamiliar one-way streets in a vehicle with a manual transmission?


What if they ask me to parallel park?!!!

Well, I had no choice in the matter, it had to be done. And so after a month of procrastination and dread, I forced myself to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Meeting all expectations, the office was packed. Rows of hapless victims, all clutching numbers to their chests. I blew out a breath and resigned myself to a multi-hour wait mired in Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

Registry of Motor Vehicles

Registry of Motor Vehicles/FlickrCC

I queued up and handed the gentleman at the at the front desk a copy of my pre-staged online app. In exchange, I received a number of my very own. But this number was different. The numbers being served all began with ‘A’ mine began with ‘W’.

This did not bode well.

The man explained that because I’d completed my application online, I was to go to a special window, one designated for pre-staged apps. And here’s the astonishing part: there was no one ahead of me. I didn’t have to wait. I showed the nice lady my identification, paid my fee, she took my picture, and I was out of there in five minutes flat.

Easiest license conversion ever!

You’re probably asking yourself what any of this has to do with writing. It’s this:  sometimes dread, the dread of failure, of embarrassment, the dread of taking on a task we detest (writing synopses, querying, visiting the RMV) sends us into avoidance mode.

But the longer we procrastinate, the more opportunity for dread to erode our self-confidence and productivity. We’re often oblivious to the debilitating effect of dread even though it routinely proves more threatening and destructive than the task or challenge that precipitated it.


“You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. it is intrinsic to the real busines of writing and shoud be cherished.”
~British Novelist, Will Self


If we allow it, dread will feed our insecurities and force us to focus on what could go wrong rather than on what could go right.

We can’t eliminate dread, so meet it head on.

I spent a month worrying over an uneventful five minute visit to the RMV. Don’t be like me. Don’t waste precious time fretting over the unavoidable. If you have a task to do, writing-related or otherwise, don’t let dread turn it Herculean.


Don’t dwell in dread.
Dance to the possibilities!

© Michael "Mike" L. Baird

© Michael “Mike” L. Baird