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Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

How to Overcome Writing Fears

Writing fears can range from fear of failure to fear of success and something else in between. Fear stops us from accomplishing a lot of things in life, but when it affects your writing there are ways to combat fear. Here are some of the top fears writers have and the steps to overcome them.

 

Knowing it’s F.E.A.R. Fear

The first step is to realize that the reason you’ve stopped or cannot start writing is because of fear itself. Once you can establish that it’s fear holding you back, it makes it much easier to find ways to get through it. But what fears can stop us from writing? Keep reading to find out.

 

Failure

The fear of failure is the biggest and first that comes to mind. The thought of never going anywhere with your writing is heartbreaking. Then there’s publishing something that nobody likes which can stop anyone from trying in the first place. The only way to overcome the fear of failure is to realize that it’s inevitable. Acknowledge that many mistakes need to be made before writing truly takes off. You need to fail first before you know you’ve succeeded. Maybe the failure to you means being embarrassed because you quit your day job or failing means no money to pay the bills. It then jumps from your mind to reality (your physical life). This type of stress can only be overcome by letting it fuel you to write more and coming up with contingency plans. Make sure your backup plans don’t stop your writing focus though. If you’re financially strapped, you may have to learn to write around a day job. In the end, it can make you a stronger writer.

 

Eager to be successful . . . or not?

Fear of success is a lesser-known fear. It’s not the first fear that comes to mind. You would think success is what you wantthe end goal. It can also be called the fear of finishing. This can stop you from sending anything off and always working on a writing project. Sometimes the image of success can be scary. With it comes responsibility and possibly showing yourself in the spotlight. With this fear comes sabotage and only completing projects halfway. You love writing, but publishing and critique of your work from many people scare you. One way to overcome the fear of success is to remember that you only have to do what you want. You don't have to be forced into anything grand. Also, focus on finishing something before moving on to something else. Do your best and send it off. That way you know how it feels and the project that you want to be successful can soar.

 

A little less perfect

Fear of something not being perfect can be the worst of them all. This is because nothing in life could ever be perfect, especially since everyone’s idea of perfect is different. Wanting your writing to be the best it can be is a great goal, but when you never let anyone see your work because you still feel like it can be better is perfectionism. It stops you from realizing your dreams and growing as a writer. To stop perfectionist tendencies in its tracks, you must complete drafts, do the best you can at the time, and give (or sell) away for judgment. Better yet, get beta readers to read it first and see that the stuff you thought wasn't perfect might've actually been what readers love the most.

 

Really, who are you?

The fear that you’re not a writer so that at times you don’t feel comfortable writing or you question why you’re even writing in the first place. The term “imposter syndrome” comes to mind. To overcome feeling like an imposter writer just remember that every writer is self-declared. It’s not like being a doctor where you definitely have to have schooling and degrees to prove you’re a doctor. There are no English teachers around to give you a smiley face. Most of the time, there’s nobody to validate that you’re a writer except yourself. This fear always creeps up when you’re trying to write. That alone should tell you to keep going. Anything worth doing in life will be hard and full of paths unknown. Some writing isn’t revealed to the writer until they actually write; it’s the very definition of the unknown. Whenever you’re there writing alone in the unknown, the fear of being an imposter lays dormant. Don’t wake it up anymore.

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