Overcome Fear of Writing

Credit image: TotallyHistory.com/ Source: Edvard Munch, “The Scream.” Oil, tempera and pastel on cardboard, 1893
My writing history has not been a consistent one. I loved writing my little series and ghoulish cards when I was younger. And English was my favorite class and best subject by far. Yet, what can account for the breaks in my writing history? The answer is simple and something we all share as human beings.

Fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that no one will like your story. Fear that you’ll never write the kind of story as great as you’d imagined it. Fear, fear, fear.

I’d already dreamt of having a career in writing.  I often fantasized about having book signings packed with hordes of fans. Invitations from my high school to give a talk about my work. And following their dreams.  I even fantasized working as an English creative writing/ poetry college professor.

Then the fear first came when I was told that writing was just a hobby. It forced me to think about the money side of things, something I never thought about. What followed next was a series of fears and doubts about how can I live on writing. Trampling the passion and joy I had for the craft. 

It affected me so much so that I entered college as Mass Communications major. My reason was that I can remain connected to writing if I become a magazine writer. Or start my own. Then I found out the number of new magazines that fail. Oy vey.

I was at a crossroads…no I’d had taken a detour and gotten lost. But lucky for me I’d taken a creative writing elective the next semester. And I knew I was on my way back home. Once the semester was over, I changed majors to English writing track. But I still kept Mass Communications and made it my minor. I felt it was too much a waste for the classes I already took. Plus it can still be valuable in the long run.

Skip fourteen years later and I’ve self-published my first work of short poems. I’m blogging and on social media. I have two work in progress novels I want to bleed into. Two more poetry books and a slew of filed away story ideas to stew over. Yet, I don’t think any of this would’ve been possible if not for two things. My company moving its headquarters to another city. And the support of family and friends.

No one sets out to be brave just to be brave. More than often we’re motivated into performing brave acts. It takes courage to share yourself and your writing with the public. But as William Faulkner said, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.” I could no longer have it collecting dust in documents and folders. Yet motivation alone won’t keep you walking towards your goal of being a published writer/author. There are times where we waver and that motivation that catapulted us to write can wane. It’s then when you need to rely on a support system to buoy yourself back up until you reach the end of your story. And the beginning of your next.

Fear has gotten hold of me many times. But with motivation and support, you can overcome it. My company moving forced me to take my sword and sorcery fantasy from outline. And into a manuscript.  My husband will much prefer to hear news of advance payments. And talks of a film adaptation of the book in the future. Yet, he still encourages me with a “job well done” smile. And a “keep up the good work” kiss. Even affectionately calling me a nerd about my blogging, while also leaving me alone to write. My kids encourage me as well with screams and jumping with joy about the latest “Can You Catch My Flow?” news. Of course I know where their minds are at (they’re just like they father). How can I not, when they  ask me afterwards, “Does that mean we’ll get lots of money? And can buy whatever we want?”

Do you remember your first writing fear(s)? How did it hinder you? How did you overcome it?

Credit image: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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