eight Brave Methods To Overcome Your Concern Of Writing
Today I want to talk about fear. Fear of Writing, Fear of Sharing Your Work, Fear of Publishing – and How to Get Over It.
Writers are scared every day.
The self-doubt. The fear of failure. And, oh, the vulnerability.
Writing is hard enough with all the self-assessment and doubts about your abilities. But then do you share your work with other people so that they can criticize or review it? TOUCHING UP.
When you sink into this fear, it weakens you. If you let fear hold you back, you are making sure that you never reach your goals. You will never write this book and you will never publish it. All because you were too scared.
8 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Writing
It's time to stop allowing fear to control you and start writing. Here's how:
1. Do what scares you.
When faced with something that scares you, ask yourself what's the worst case scenario. Is It Really Seriously Harmful? It's probably not like jumping off a bridge into a rocky river or stepping in front of a fast moving vehicle.
Fear tries to protect you. It has to be learned that just because something is scary does not necessarily mean that it is harmful to health. Do what scares you and keep going and the fear will subside.
This includes the fear of our own writing. I'm not saying you have to write a 90,000 word novel. Start with a short story or try a few prompts.
Aspiring writers may feel intimidated because they don't believe they are a great writer. The reality is that you can never become a great writer if you don't practice – and in order to practice you have to write.
Embrace and overcome your fear by putting down words. Start writing, be patient with yourself, and take care of the rest later.
The blank page becomes a lot less scary once you put words on it.
2. Stop hesitating.
Your house is clean enough already. This TV show can wait. No, you don't have to walk to the store to pick up a bag of chips.
Find out when is the best time for you to write, then write.
When you really, really need a break to clear your mind, set a time limit. Scrub the grout with a toothbrush for ten minutes, then start writing again.
Ultimately, those who hesitate will be more inclined to write off procrastination than writer's block – and the more time you spend outside of writing, the scarier it becomes.
3. Learn from criticism.
Criticism is what everyone fears. Not just in writing, but in life. We all want to be liked, to be perfect, to be praised.
Not everyone will like your writing and you should realize that by now. Criticism is much easier to take when you are aware of this fact.
Don't just ignore the criticism, however. Writing is like anything else in that it takes practice. You don't have to be # 1 on Amazon or create a bestseller list (though I'm not saying that would be awesome).
The first meal you cooked wasn't a gourmet meal. The first time you dribbled a basketball wasn't Lebron level. Someone was there to point out what you did wrong and to point you on the right track. They taught you how to get better.
That is criticism: teaching.
Your work will not be rejected, which is why some writers may not share their work: because their fear of rejection is mistakenly equated with criticism.
Yes, it's mean sometimes, especially in times of internet trolls. But even from these nasty reviews, there is usually something to learn.
Find it. Use it. And better next time.
4. Finish the revision.
You want every sentence in your work to be perfect. I have a secret for you: you will never get there.
Your writing will never be perfect.
Not for you, not for your editors, and not for your readers. It's impossible so stop revising ad nauseam. At some point you have to let go of it and get the work out of there.
Perfectionism could hold back your creative writing instead of strengthening it.
To avoid this, set a limit. I prefer three designs. That's it. Three and then I let it fly alone.
What are you writing for We'll never know unless you choose to share your work.
5. Set goals and move towards them.
Focus on milestones like daily word counts and deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise).
Writing a book is like climbing a mountain: step by step. By the time you get to the top you may be a little tired and out of breath, but you will look back on everything you have achieved and be proud.
Without these minor milestones, it might be difficult to write your piece, or even find the motivation to keep writing each day.
The stories end each day with hard work and a desire to expand your writing process.
Don't sweat the little things in your first draft, like the choice of words. Instead, set yourself a long-term goal of continuously learning how to write better and smaller milestones that will help you finish the stories you started.
All of this is accomplished word for word and by turning real and irrational fears into manageable tasks.
6. Embrace the fear of writing.
You will often be scared in this business. My stomach still turns every time I submit a short story, despite submitting hundreds of times. It will happen.
The trick is to acknowledge it and move forward. It didn't kill you.
Indeed, that little tingle of fear should be your signal to celebrate. You did what scared you and that is amazing.
One book that many writers really love on the subject is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If your anxiety makes you feel discouraged or choked up, check out this book to see if you are motivated.
Even better, find and join a writing group like the one we have here at The Write Practice. Nothing can help you overcome your fears like a supportive community with a kindred creative spirit.
7. If your character can do it, so can you.
You don't let your characters sit back on your heels because they're scared, do you? I hope not, because if you do, you have no story.
Your characters don't have the luxury of sitting on the bench. You have to make decisions and do something about the problem. And you too.
Don't let the fear of writing take over your writing life. Make a decision to move forward, write this book, mail this manuscript. Make up your mind and then do it.
8. Ask for help when you need it.
Don't be afraid to take the time to write. Your family and friends will understand that you need this time because you care about writing.
Find a group of writers and readers who can go through your story and provide constructive feedback. You can't improve in a vacuum.
Would you like to know what a day in the life of a flight attendant or the colloquial language of a truck driver is like? Ask her. Trust me you don't bother them. People love to talk about themselves.
If you need help with research, librarians are there for just that. They will be happy to help you.
Don't let fear of asking for help stagnate your writing.
Embrace the fear
I want to leave you with these words from Carrie Fisher:
Stay afraid, but do it anyway. The important thing is the action. You don't have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually trust will follow. “Carrie Fisher
Your fears are natural and normal. They are not the end of the story either.
Your job, the challenge for any writer, is to face this fear of writing, acknowledge it, and still write, share and publish.
Do you need additional motivation? Have you checked out The Write Practice's 100 Day Book Program? This is the best way to stop letting the fear of writing control you and to finish the book. Click here for more information on the course.
What scares you most about writing and / or the business side of writing? What steps can you take to overcome this fear? Let me know in the comments!
Today I want you to spend fifteen minutes writing about a time when you were afraid to do something but did it anyway. Describe the exact feelings of fear that you had. How did you feel after doing what scared you?
Then share your writing in the comments and give your co-authors some feedback!
Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore awkward situations, fundamental fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She has just published Surviving Death, her first novel, and is currently working on her next book.
Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free fear.