Monday, August 1, 2016

Are You Afraid to Write?

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

It's amazing how much fear can paralyze a writer right from the start. Let's take a look at some of the fearful reasons people don't write, even when they long to do so.
  • I'm afraid to write because I'll have to cut back on spending time with my friends, and they won't like me anymore.
  • I'm afraid to let anyone read my work because they might steal it.
  • I'm afraid to share in a writer's group because people might criticize my work.
  • I'm afraid to submit my work because it might be rejected.
  • I'm afraid to revise because I might get my work published.
  • I'm afraid to get published because I might be successful and have to change my life.
How interesting it is that a writer's fears begin and end with making life changes.

Frequently self-doubt, a scurrilous fear, attacks a writer--even a published one--and causes him or her great anxiety, even to the extent of threatening a promising career. I know of a writer who was so convinced that he/she could not write his/her way out of a paper bag that he/she got rid of every vestige of the writing life, including the latest manuscript from the computer. Fortunately, calmer heads overruled the faulty self-assessment, and he/she has gone on to much success.

How does a writer overcome these fears?

That's a big question, because every writer faces it. Writers are notorious for mood swings from the heights of arrogance to the depths of despair. How can he or she keep on a more even keel?

Here's a list of things that help other writers:
  • Listening to inspiring music
  • Reading affirmations each day
  • Hanging quotes above the computer monitor or in the writing space
  • Praying before writing
  • Lighting scented candles in the room
Another frequent suggestion for overcoming writer's fear is to face it head on and WRITE EVERY DAY, even if it's only 100 words. This method has the added plus of helping a writer overcome writer's block.

I used to think writing every day was a wonderful idea., but I've discovered over the years that I need breaks from writing constantly on a project. I don't mean taking breaks in the midst of writing on a project, but taking breaks between projects. Writing every day may be a great idea for you. For me, not so much. So in my writing life, I've amended the suggestion above to "write every day" to include the phrase "when you are in writing mode."

What do you do to conquer your writer's fear?