What are your greatest writing fears?
Writing is not for the faint of heart and to build a successful career as a writer is not without its’ fair share of anxieties.
At various points in their pursuit, most writers have experienced writing fears, so this is not a challenge peculiar to you.
I remember when decided I to follow my passion and started writing actively, I had bubbles of anxiety in my stomach for days, I lost several nights of sleep wondering what made me think that I was good enough for anyone to want to spend their time reading my words.
Coupled with that, I enrolled for a creative writing course and as much as I tried not to take the instructors critic to heart, I never looked forward to hearing from her and was literally developing an ulcer from anguish. After much angst, I decided to put my anxiety to an end, to believe in myself and chose to face my fears.
Your fear might be one or even all the following:
- Fear of failure.
This is one of the most common writing fears that writers nurture in the dark recesses of the mind, creating various excuses to stop from writing that story, book or series that you have, excuses like ‘the bookstores are already so full of books, who would want to read mine?’ Don’t let these doubts and lack of confidence stand in your way.
- Fear of rejection.
In my honest opinion, I believe that all writers face this fear at some point or the other. Fear of submitting that work and facing the rejection. In this case, my friend, you’ve got to develop a thick hide like the Rhinoceros. Brace your mind that it’s bound to happen but it won’t stop you from pursuing your dream.
- Fear of poor writing.
You can only get better through practice, making mistakes and learning from them. Refreshing your knowledge of basic writing skills and grammar would help. Also, consider using writing tools that point out those little errors.
- Fear of criticism.
Writers are sensitive people especially when it comes to their work. Allowing others to critique your work is a nail-biting time. One way to get past this is to choose those who check your work carefully, based on their experience – not for the feel good cause – but knowing that they will offer a constructive feedback. Condition your mind not to take it personally and check the outlined issues. Most times it’s worth it.
- Fear of obscurity.
Not going after your dreams will not make you visible. What have you got to lose? Since you are down, there’s only one way to go and that is up.
- Financial concerns
A valid concern for most writers. It’s certainly not easy to leave the thoughts of the bills to pay to chase a bowl of gold coins at the end of the rainbow. So, caught in this many writers struggle to find the time to get their writing done. This is a situation where a thorough work-life balance approach comes in. You’ve got to create the space to chase your dreams. Scheduling will help.
Some are afraid of letting it all out. Worried that emptying their thoughts will only bring castigation. Thus, their writing becomes lackluster because out of fear of getting personal and losing their perceived sense of privacy, they fail to draw on personal experience that can only enhance their writing.
- Fear of not finding the right words to bring out that great story in you.
There will be days like this whether you are a new writer or an experienced one. Be ready to deal with the writers’ block.
- Fear that no one would want to read your publications.
You’ll be surprised. Stop selling that excuse to yourself.
- Fear that your story is not as original as you thought.
I believe that everything has been written in one form or the other, however, you haven’t written from your own refreshing perspective. Go ahead and own your story.
- Fear that you are not as talented as you thought.
It’s most likely that you simply have a distorted view of your own writing and potentials. Others think you’ve got it, but in your own mind, you feel you fall short. Learning to believe in yourself is important here.
- Fear of never becoming published.
The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that it frees your mind from this inhibition. No hindrances to exploring getting your work out there by self-publishing.
The list of writing fears is endless and the interesting thing is that the thing that is your strength as a writer ‘your imagination’ goes into overdrive in face of these fears and you’ll eagerly fill in the blank spaces of ‘what ifs’ by giving the fear a larger than life attribute.
This ultimately leads to not realizing your aspirations and full potentials as a writer because these fears become a problem when we fail to deal with them.
For example, the fear of rejection prevents many writers from submitting their work and what makes it worse is that the more a writer allows a fear to grow the more you reinforce its place as the captain of your creativity.
Facing Your Fears
Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Your writing life presents you with the endless opportunities to meet your fears and conquer them.
Facing that blank page, sending out that manuscript only to receive a rejection letter, having the courage to bare your soul and being told that it lacks character… are surely part of what a writer’s nightmare is made of, however, when we consciously work with fear, we can actually harness this energy source in ways that will support our writing goals and enhance our writing experience.
Steps to dealing with your writing fears
- Identify which fears concern you most. Which ones are valid, which fears could become valid and which ones are simply excuses?
- Acknowledge the fear without putting it in charge.
- Seek ways to rise above it: Join other writing groups, give yourself the permission to fail. Redefine your own scale of success. Apply daily, positive affirmations to boost your thought.
- Brainstorm on how to handle your fears in positive ways. For example, instead of telling yourself that it’s okay to get rejected, tell yourself that you’ll research reasons why submissions get rejected and seek solutions to revise your work properly.
- Focus on process instead of results. Have a written action plan that you can refer to when you start feeling discouraged.
- Forget perfectionism and be open with your shortcomings.
- Retrain your poor habits diligently. There are those habits we’ve imbibed over time that simply yield nothing and only serve as blocks in our path.
- Don’t make things harder than they are. Cease from approaching your writing from a place of fear, it only makes it harder and tiring. When you find yourself all tensed up, seek ways to relax before getting back to your writing.
- Keep doing it afraid. Repeating your process creates comfort and confidence.
- Be realistic in your approach. Don’t set impossible goals for yourself. Factor your lifestyle in and use a pragmatic approach.
- Talk about it. It helps to share your thoughts and fears with those you trust.
- Quit comparing. Your writing is unique like you are. Consistent comparison with other writers you esteem and trying to copy them hurts you more than it helps you. You can learn from the masters but carve your own path.
- Research ways to do it better.
Your writing passion and your pursuit for success as a writer are valid and precious. Don’t let any form of insecurity keep you from doing that thing you’ve been called to do. Deal with those fears today and broaden the horizon of your potentials.
Let’s talk in the comments. What are your greatest writing hang-ups?
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