Aug 2, 2016

Are You Afraid to Write?

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard
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.
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
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!

*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?


  1. I'm still working on conquering that fear. It seems that every time I take a step up the ladder, something pops up to knock me down. I signed up to pitch at conference and haven't added a word to my wip since. ugh. I am so ready to walk away, which tells me I need to try harder to shake the adversary off.

    1. Please do ignore the fear from the adversary. You are a good writer, and although circumstances sometimes keep you from moving forward, take baby steps, fifteen minutes a day, if that's all you have. Love you!


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