This blog post is adapted from one originally published on this blog on March 11, 2007.
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.
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
*I'm amending the suggestion above to "write every day" to include the phrase "when you are in writing mode." 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.
What do you do to conquer your writer's fear?