I’m drawn to the dark side of creativity. The fears and phobias we let shut our writing down. I wasted too many years allowing the blank page to conquer me, doubting each word of every story.
And worse, waiting for permission from others to call myself a writer. Now, I’m almost on a mission to save others from those painful mistakes because they’re both unnecessary and abusive.
You Need to Protect Your Writing From Fear
There are just three times when fear will try to stop you from writing:
- The beginning
- The middle.
- The end.
You might laugh, but I’m not being flippant.
Fear will use every trick in the book to shake you to the core for whatever you’re writing—your novel, short story, a business how-to.
It’s terrifying, dealing with doubt, perfectionism, procrastination, criticism, self-sabotage, etc.
How Fear Derails Your Writing
Here are a few examples of how fear manifests itself during each phase of your writing.
1. The Beginning
You’re afraid you don’t have enough talent to pull off the project. You worry your words won’t interest anyone enough to read them in the first place, or to remember them.
Fear can cause such terror you find it impossible to even touch your keyboard. Or, maybe you find the courage to write, but you soon see it’s not as perfect as the image in your head, so you start over and over, again and again.
You might scrap that piece altogether and try something else.
It’s torturous because you can’t seem to move past GO.
2. The Middle
You’re lucky enough to have started and continued, but you either doubted yourself the whole time, or the process was going quite well, them WHAMMO!
Everything fell to pieces.
Who knows what went wrong? Maybe you got sick and lost your rhythm. Or, you shared it with a trusted friend, who loved it and that scared you to death.
Whatever the cause, you can’t seem to regain your momentum, so you set your work aside. You may even have several unfinished manuscripts.
This isn’t uncommon. I know writers who’ve taken a quick ‘break’ that lasts for years.
3. The End
Congratulations! You finished the rough draft, but you read through it and it sucks!
You really thought it’d be better than this.
Or, maybe you can’t find the final perfect plot twist to make your story extra special.
Frustrated, you never take the next step: entering that contest, letting a beta reader critique it, querying a literary agent, publishing it yourself.
Are You Going to Write Anyway?
The bad news is that fear will try to stop you every step of the way. The good news is this happens to everyone and should be expected. There’s nothing wrong with you.
You’re not lazy, untalented; you aren’t a loser because flawless prose doesn’t flow from your fingers every time you sit down to work.
You’re human, except now you must choose whether you’ll keep going, despite the obstacles and setbacks, during…
The beginning, the middle and the end. Good luck!
During which phase do you struggle most (or, does it ALL freak you out)? Let us know in the comments.
Pick a phase, then spend fifteen minutes creating a story about a tortured writer struggling with that phase of his/her story. When your finished, please post it in the comments section. If you share a practice, please comment on the stories of others.
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