Friday, September 23, 2016

7 Common Writerly Fears (And How to Combat Them)

For people who create entire worlds and write about brave people, writers are extremely fearful people. We freak out about other people not liking our stories, of writing something that sucks more than anything in the history of sucking, of writing a story that only gets read by a few random people who all leave us 1-star reviews.

Have you been there? Yeah, probably.

It's pathetic. Get a grip, dude. Do better.

No, I'm serious. Just suck it up and keep going. What? You want me to expand on that? Fine.

Luckily for you, I've come up against pretty much every writerly fear imaginable (I blame my overactive mind), which has forced me to come up with some ways to combat them. Here are some of the more common writing fears, along with ways to help you work through them:
7 Common Writerly Fears (And How to Combat Them) - Writer's suffer from so many different kinds of fear. We're afraid our writing won't touch others. We're afraid nobody will like our work...or that nobody will even read it. How are you supposed to get your mind out of the endless loop of writer fears? Check out these 7 tips.
You just aren't any good. This is probably the top one. You think you suck. Actually, you know you suck. Half of your ideas never get written out and the ones that do get written are just dumb or poorly executed and people say they like your work but they're probably lying and oh my gosh why are you even writing? You should just get a job cleaning toilets because that's about all you're capable of...and you'd probably suck at that, too.
  • How to combat it: Remember that you're crazy and thus aren't judging your writing properly. Don't make me come over there with a rolled up newspaper!
  • I know I have terrible bedside manner, but seriously. You're freaking out. Calm down. Remember that writing something sucky doesn't make you a bad writer. If just means you have a chance at becoming a better one. Remember that your writing seems boring and lackluster to you because you've been carrying it around in your head for so long that it seems commonplace. Remember that writing stories is probably one of the hardest jobs in the galaxy, and yet here you are, tackling it head on. That's insanely cool. You're doing great. Just keep going and you'll do even better.

People will reject your writing. People won't understand it or they'll think it's dumb. You'll hand your sweat and blood over to people for their perusal and they'll laugh at all of your hard work. People will start using your writing as a punching bag rather than Stephanie Meyer.
  • How to combat it: Frankly my dear, you shouldn't give a damn. Who cares if some people don't like what you're writing? They probably have poor taste. You are doing this because you enjoy it and feel called to it. If just one person benefits from your stories, then you have accomplished something huge. Maybe that one person is you, maybe it's a reader, maybe it's another writer. Don't be afraid of people not liking your work. It happens to everybody in every field. Grow a thick skin and don't pay those peasants any mind.

People won't even read your writing. You're just shouting into a void. You're going to spend your years writing and where will it get you? You'll end up living in somebody's basement, drinking hot water because nobody bought your work and you can't afford to buy caffeinated drinks.
  • How to combat it: Remember that if you have the talent and drive to finish a book, then you most definitely have the talent and drive to get it read. You may doubt this at times, but it's true. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. So stop being afraid. After all:

You'll never be able to live up to your ideas. You have these brilliant stories lock up in your mind. They are beautiful and wonderful and will touch the hearts of so many people. But when you write them out? They're just not that special. You will never be able to meet the expectations that you have for your own writing.
  • How to combat it: Just keep writing. When your stories are not going the way they should, you can only fix it one way: Keep going. Keep writing and rewriting and working hard. Will you ever get your story to match exactly what is in your mind? No. But that is completely okay. Just because it doesn't match doesn't mean it isn't good. You have to let go of the idea of how something "should be" in order to move forward and discover new, beautiful ways of approaching a story.

You don't have enough experience. Who are you to write a book or start a blog? You don't know anything about anything. You are an imposter and should leave the writing of books to those that know more. Maybe you're too old and behind the times. Or maybe you're too young and inexperienced. You don't have what it takes to be a writer.
  • How to combat it: Shut yourself up. You're being dumb. Do you have an idea? Do you have something to write it down on? Then you are enough. Don't let anybody, especially yourself, tell you otherwise. You don't need to travel the world, you don't need to have undergone some terrible trial. You just need the capability to think deeply, read thoughtfully, and write honestly. That's it.

People will think differently of you. They'll assume certain things about you based off of your writing. They'll look at the themes in your story that are important to you and they'll deem them unworthy. Those you respect will read your work and judge your poor writing abilities.
  • How to combat it: Anybody worth being friends with will still like you and want to be around you after they read your stories. Simple as that. Don't overthink it. You're being crazy.

Your writing won't make a difference. People will read your book, put it back on the shelf, and never think of it again. They won't be moved by the characters or inspired by the storyline. You will add your stories to the piles of stories that already exist and it won't matter. Nobody will be changed by what you have worked so hard to create. Or, even worse: You will write something that is misinterpreted and causes the downfall of civilization.
  • How to combat it: Write hard so that this doesn't happen. You have the words. You have the power. Get up early, stay up late, write and write and write until you know that you have something that will allow your soul to touch the souls of your readers. The fact that you care about making a difference enough to be afraid of failing in this area means that you already have the upper hand. You will do everything in your power to write a story that will not be forgotten. And the power of words in the hands of somebody who cares to wield them is one of the most powerful forces that exists on the face of the planet.

Those are some of the biggest fears that writers come up against. They never go completely away, which is probably a good thing. Fear pushes us to become better writers. The only time it can hinder your progress is if you allow it to.

What are some of your main fears as a writer? How do you overcome them? I'd love to hear any and all thoughts on the matter.

Related articles:
5 Steps to Fighting Off Writer's Insecurity
Write What YOU Want To Write: Why You Shouldn't Follow The Current Writing Trend
Inside the Creative's Mind: 9 Things You Should Know

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  1. I'm usually afraid of shouting to the void, that my voice doesn't matter at all, that my writing will never make a difference in the world. Then I remind myself that I DO have an audience, and each of them is important no matter how big or small statistics may claim they are.

    Way to go on your post. You're encouragement is immensely helpful!

    1. Exactly! I think often writers forget that there are people behind their reviews or sells or page views. It's awesome that you are able to remind yourself of that. I've found it helpful, too.

      Happy to hear that this posted helped you! Happy writing!

  2. "Or, even worse: You will write something that is misinterpreted and causes the downfall of civilization."
    ...I feel that I'd actually be somewhat proud of this. :-o

    1. Lol! That's one less fear for you to have to bother with, then. =D

  3. Such a great post! Very encouraging and motivating. Oh, and The Incredibles GIF is perfection. =D

    1. Thank you! I love Edna Mode. Any time I can work a gif of her into my posts, I'm happy.

  4. Numbers one and four particularly resonate with me <3 awesome post!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Those are my top ones, too. Glad you like the post! Thanks for commenting.

  5. "You will write something that is misinterpreted and causes the downfall of civilization" sounds like a great idea for a comedy/action movie. Or the most terrifying fortune cookie ever.

    1. Oh my gosh. Such a scary fortune cookie. Plot bunny for a humorous horror story. =D

  6. This is totally spot on! Thanks for posting this, it really shows the fears of the writer's mind. Awesome! Sincerely, D:)
    P.S. If there was one fear I'd get, it would probably be worrying that people would be laughing or accusing at my writing and saying it was plagiarism.

    1. Oh, being accused of plagiarism is a big one. I mean, it's not our fault we're in the 21st century and have had hundreds of great ideas already written down before we were even born. =D

  7. Replies
    1. I'm glad it helped you! Thanks for the comment.

  8. Wow. This was really motivating. I really love your posts on writing tips. If it wasn't midnight on a school night I would start writing this second...but if I turn on the light my sister will wake up. Well, I will channel the motivation into getting enough sleep so that I won't be exhausted tomorrow and can write something after I'm done with school and music lessons. Thanks for all your good advice. I really enjoy your posts.

    1. Haha! I'm happy to hear that my writing has that affect on people. My goal is to get people excited about there stories, so yay for this post! =D I hope your writing is going well. Thank you for the sweet comment!


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