Many writers suffer from anxieties about the quality of their writing. Learn how to work with these. Fear is an integral part of life for most writers – even best-selling authors. It is something that may never be overcome but anyone can learn to work with it and even use it as an advantage.
What do Writers Fear
Most of the fears relate back to a feeling of inadequacy and doubt in their abilities. Look for this type of emotion:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of lack of creativity
- Fear of looking foolish
- Fear of exposing inner feelings
- Fear of wasting time and effort
- Fear of having nothing to write about
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of lacking basic writing skills
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of success
How to Handle the Fear of Writing
The best way is to confront it. Define the dominant feeling and then take action to overcome it. If the fear is of not being able to punctuate and use correct grammar, do a course and learn how to do this properly. If the fear is of criticism, accept that all writers get criticized and be prepared for it. The important thing is to learn to accept accurate criticism as a tool for learning and reject what is not true or helpful. Face the fear, whatever it is, and master it.
Don’t Become a Closet Writer
These are people who write endlessly but never allow the words to see light of day. Excuses range from “It’s a hobby” to “I’m not good enough”. These are excuses that offer protection as hidden words can’t be criticized. Nor can they be enjoyed. If the desire to write is there, allow it to be expressed and work continually on improving skill levels. Start with family and friends as an audience and move on to a blog or contributions to a web site.
Don’t Give up Writing
Rejection is part of a writer’s life. It always has been and always will be. Accept that writing is not so much an individual pursuit as a group effort between a writer and one or more editors. When work is rejected, learn from it. Ask why, rework it and submit it to another market. Even top writers have work rejected but have learned that it is not a sign of inability. Often it is a case of incorrect markets or a publication having an overdrawn budget.
Writers who dwell on rejections and writer’s block, lack of inspiration and criticism are filling their minds with negativity. It is far more helpful to wake up each morning and face life with the attitude of being a successful writer. Get published work or certificates framed and hang them in a prominent place. Compose a successful writer’s creed and read it every day. Think and act positively about all aspects of writing.
In a strange way, fear can become a writer’s best friend. The awareness of it hovering in the background causes a writer to check work more thoroughly, prepare more carefully and never become complacent. The most important thing is learning to work with and around the fears.