What’s your biggest fear as a writer? For some of you, it might be putting the ideas swirling in your mind into actual words on the paper. For others, it might be pitching your manuscript or creating social media posts. Whatever it is, we all have them. And all that fear causes anxiety, worry, tension, panic, despair…you get the idea (we all write characters who struggle with these, right?). If you’re anything like me, my fears prevent me from accomplishing or completing some of my writing goals.
So, what do we do about this? How do we over come these fears?
First, you must identify it. Write it down. What’s your biggest fear? Stare it straight in the face. It’s not so scary once you look at it written out.
Second, define it a bit more. Add another layer of thought to it. What specifically about it makes you have fear. Is it the entire thing or just a part or two. And then ask yourself, why is it scary for you?
Third, debunk it. Discover counter arguments to your fear. Find out from other authors if they have experienced the same fear. Soon you might realize this is a normal reaction to the process and you might even learn ideas to overcome your fear.
Fourth, push through it. Do one task which causes fear. Ask yourself —what’s the worst that can happen? Find a writing partner who can encourage you and help challenge you to follow through. Note: You may have to do this part more than once.
My Greatest Fear
I decided to take a 4 x 6 index card and ask myself what my greatest fear was. What I wrote surprised me. In my mind, I had a general overall fear, but when I wrote it down I saw something more specific.
I don’t always sit my butt in the chair and on the surface I tell myself it’s because I don’t have time, but deep down I’m seeing now it might be because I’m afraid. What if I sit down for an hour session and it isn’t any better than when I started? What if I only edit through a 600 word block in that time? I will never finish. And so on and so on….
So, for me, my fear is getting it wrong. I want to hit the mark and soar with my writing. I’ve entered a lot of contests and shown my work, and although I get encouraging feedback, I’m still missing the mark. And I’m afraid it will always be that way.
So for step 2, I had to ask myself what specifically about getting it wrong meant. Was it failure? Afraid of what people think?
I don’t think I’m afraid of what people think so much (although I want people to like my work), as I am wondering if what I write will ever be ready to publish. I have lots of ideas, but when I write them down, they don’t sound as great as I thought they were. And I’m afraid no matter how much time I put in, I may never achieve my goal of getting published.
All this fear and doubt affects what I do day to day. How I spend my time. My mental state when I’m writing. And I don’t want it to.
So, I need to go to Step #3 and fight back. Who decides if it’s wrong anyway? And how do they decide? Look at how many published authors sent in their manuscript numerous times before it was accepted. It’s just part of the process.
See, by writing it down, I can find counter arguments to what my fear is telling me. And it helps calm down the panic that wants to creep in. It keeps me from letting my fear stop me completely.
Step #4 says to do something to face your fear, so I need to take risks and not be so afraid of doing so. Write a blog post even if it’s not perfect and post it. Write a new scene and show someone. Get feedback and keep trying. If I don’t do any of these things, I let the fear win. There is always going to be more I can add, more to improve, so why am I waiting to hit send? Waiting doesn’t do anything but feed my fear.
And fear keeps me from my goals. Something none of us wants.
For fun, I came up with this acronym. As we know, fear is an emotional response. We need to stop reacting to our fear and work on ways to work through it. So, FACE your FEAR. Fix And Change Every Fear from Emotional to an Analytical Response.
All so we can meet our goals. We all have goals we want to achieve, right?
So take some time and write down what your fear is and then face it. You just might work through that writer’s block you’ve been struggling with.
Hugs & Blessings,
Although new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.