Mar 11, 2007

Are you Afraid to Write?

by Marsha Ward

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 is one suggestion. Another is reading affirmations each day, or hanging quotes above the computer monitor or in the writing space. One writer prays before writing. Another lights scented candles in the room.

Probably the best 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 of facing fear has the added plus of helping a writer overcome writer's block!

Someone in our writers group said she wants to pair up with a daily nagging buddy to help her write every day. I think several of us are going to act on that suggestion.

Writer Avis Hester came up with a challenge to write 100 words a day for 100 days. Writer Beth Pattillo set up a Yahoo Group to offer support to fellow writers who want to take up this challenge, for whatever reason. You can join it at this website:
or by sending a blank email to:

I've just joined, so I'll have to report back later on how effective it is in helping me face my particular writing fears.

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


  1. You have fears, Marsha? They certainly don't show. To me you're a pathfinder, a trail blazer, marking the way for those of us wandering in writing wilderness. You're doing it here with this posting. Thanks for another great tip.

  2. Great thoughts on fear, Marsha :) and how very true.


  3. Hmmm...thanks Marsha! You made me think...
    I agree with Liz's description. Thanks for marking the way for us!


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