How to Vanquish the Fearful Writer (like a boss)

8:00 AM

 
I know I know, I'm supposed to be talking about world building. Well, I can do what I want.
 
I felt really called to write this, so just ... get over it. XP
 
Right. On with the post.
 
(because everyone just needs some Aragorn every now and then)



“What are you doing?”


“No one will ever like this.”


“What are you thinking?”


“This is so stupid.”


“You’ll never amount to anything.”


“Just stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself.”


“This is terrible. This is absolutely terrible. I can’t believe you thought you could do this.”




Sound familiar?


Yes? Ah. Sad, but true.


And do you know what it is?


‘Tis the voice of the fearful writer.



It lives in each of us, dwelling in the dark corners and shadows of our minds. It haunts us every time we sit down to write. It whispers in our ears when we try to send out our work to others, when we want to share what we’ve slaved so long over. It fills our minds with doubts and insecurities and takes away our hope and confidence. It tells us that we will never be good enough. That we should just stop now to save ourselves the pain.
 
Why should we try, anyway? What good will it do? The voice is right, anyway. Isn’t it? We can’t change anything. We can’t inspire anyone. We can’t–


*sits up* *glares* Go on. Get out. GO! *boots sneaky little man out of brain and out into the big bad world to fend for himself*


*rubs hands together and comes to sit back down*

 
That’s better.


What was that?


Oh. That was Fear. He’s gone now. It’s just you and me (and Stan) and we are going to have a nice chat about Fear while he’s gone.


You see, Fear is quite a terrible little beasty. He seems so big and threatening. He looms over us all. Sure, he has more influence over some of us than others, but nonetheless, he is there in each of us. And, if you are not prepared, he will overtake you.


But we tend to give fear a little too much credit. He seems so big and scary. But you know what? Fear is not really as big and powerful as he seems. You know what fear actually looks like? Take a look.

Oh yeah. So scary.
*hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice*

You see the doubt in his eyes? You see the terror and uncertainty? He is just as uncertain and insecure as he's making you. Look at him. Why should you listen to, much less believe, a word of what he has to say?


Fear is just another emotion. And it can be conquered.


“But howwwwww?” you might whine. “How do I boot out the fear?”


Here are some things you need to remember.

 


#1: Everyone has to start somewhere.


You are not going to get it right the first time.


I repeat.


You are not going to get it right the first time.


No one does. It is impossible. You cannot write a perfect novel in one go. You have to rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. Over and over and over again.


When you look at your messy manuscript and fear starts to tug at you, telling you your writing is terrible and you’ll never amount to anything, remind yourself that this is just the beginning. Your writing will keep getting better, as long as you keep at it and push past the doubts and fears.

 

 

#2: People (at least, most people) are not out to find everything wrong with your work and shove it in your face.


The world doesn’t revolve around you.


What people who don't like your work, who don't care for what you have to say, throw at you doesn't really matter. The world doesn't revolve around them, either. If you put your work out there, people aren't going to fly at it with pickaxes and tear it to shreds. And if they do, that's just one (or maybe more) voice among thousands. Why should that make a difference to you? Why should that stop you? It isn't going to change anything. (well, it might change a bit, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here.)


So ... why are you so afraid?


And, more importantly …


What exactly are you so afraid of?


What is there to scare you, really? What’s the worst that can happen? Someone writes a bad review? Gives a harsh critique? Someone says, “This sucks!”?  Sure, the words sting, but why should they make any difference? They are just one little person in a very big world. Just like you. The fact that they read what you wrote and cared enough to write something about it shows that, in a small way, you win.


Now I know, there are things to really be afraid of. Like everyone thinking you’re stupid for attempting something like this, people reading it and having their suspicions that you are stark raving mad confirmed … But that is the point when you need to take a deep breath and just …  

 
 

#3: Let it go.


This is such a big part of writing. If you can't learn to let things like this go, you might be in the wrong profession.

 
I once witnessed a big argument over one little negative review. Tons of people got involved, and the author was replying to all their comments, trying to defend his work.

 
And do you know what I remember from that?

 
That I never want to be that stupid.


(No, I'm serious. That's all I got from witnessing this massive arguement.)

 
That's it. I don't remember what was said to cause such an uproar from the author. I just remembered how ridiculously he acted and how it did absolutely nothing.

 
If you don't let it go, if you don't accept the fact that some people are jerks and may not like your writing, then you will have a miserable career. If you try to defend yourself like that, you'll just embarrass yourself further and, quite possibly, ruin your chances at being a successful author. 

 
When you publish something, it's out of your hands. You've given it to the world. It's not your responsibility to defend criticism towards it.  (You should totally read this post about how you are not your art's lawyer. It's really amazing, especially if you struggle with letting your work go.)

 
You don't owe your readers anything. Yes, it's fun to connect with them. Do that. But if someone criticizes your work, you don't need to defend it. What you need to do is let it go.


 

#4: Everyone has fear. Everyone.


Let me tell you a little secret.


Every time I publish a blog post, you know what happens?


My heart jumps into my throat. My hands falter, hovering over the mouse, eyes fixed on that little orange ‘publish’ box, and I think, “What am I doing? No one is going to read this. No one is going to care. Why would they, anyway?


Fear does absolutely nothing for you. With a lot of practice, I have learned to master that fear (to an extent). I let it flicker for just a moment before saying, “Nah man,” and hitting that publish button.

And to be honest with you, fear has been keeping me back a lot lately. Fear that I can't be good enough. That my book will never be an amazing masterpiece.

But what has that done for me?


I've been stuck for over a month and have accomplished next to nothing. All that fear did was hold me back, and kept the fear truth.

I'm not going to write a good book. Not if I don't write.

 
Sometimes, you just have to smack Fear in the face. It doesn't matter what you feel. If you've made the decision that this matters to you, you can't let emotions -- things that are constantly changing with circumstance -- determine whether or not you continue.

 
And you also have to recognize the fact that ...

 
 

#5: The whispers of fear are sometimes right.


“What? I thought you were supposed to be encouraging me!”


Oh ye of little faith. Hang in there.


Fear will use what he can to hurt us (can't you tell? I mean, look at that little face. So evil, right?). And often, what hurts us most, what makes us the most vulnerable to attack, are the ugly little truths.

 
You see, though some of the things fear tells us may be true, that doesn't mean we can't change them. We have that power. If we learn to push past our fear and buckle down and work instead of fret, then our writing will be so much better for it.

 
Plus, you know. You'll actually get stuff done. Instead of just cowering and whimpering which will not make a difference at all.


Last, and maybe most importantly …




#6: Remember why you are doing this in the first place.


This is really important.
 
 
Especially if the fear is something you can't shake.


You’ve read all these points. Yet you are still afraid. You see my stunningly brilliant logic of why you shouldn't have fear, but you do.


So if you cannot shake this fear, (which often times you can't - it is a temperamental emotion, after all) you must learn to rise above and conquer it.


(Or if I want to stick with my title, vanquish it.)


Why are you really doing this writing thing, anyway?


You need to write for you. This is something that you love to do. If everyone hates it, if no one appreciates your words, you have to be able to keep writing anyway because this is what you love and this is what you want to do. What other people say or do or think can’t change that.
 
 
Your writing shouldn't depend on what others say. You are writing because you want to write. And in the end, that's all that matters.
 
 
Would you rather get a couple of mean reviews on your work, or risk the chance of never putting yourself out there, and possibly inspiring someone in a way you never imagined?
 
 
Without risk, there is no change.
 
 
Please take this to heart. Your writing is beautiful, and so are you. Don't let something as silly and insignificant as fear keep you from sharing your work and, quite possibly, changing lives.
 
 
So write on, my friends! Kick fear in the butt. I mean, come on. Look at him run!


That's right. You better run. I'm coming for you.

Don't let fear win.


Vanquish him!


Have you had problems sharing your work because of fear? Is there anything you have learned about conquering it? Please share in the comments!

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26 comments

  1. THIS IS MY FAVORITE POST IN THE HISTORY OF EVER BECAUSE FEAR AND I GO A LONG WAY AND IT'S BEEN A LONG JOURNEY OF DEFEATING HIM. But I love this. It's a stupid insecurity of mine, but it's so real. And the points you made make complete sense thank you. <3 <3 <3 *ugs*

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    1. I'm so glad you liked! *ugs back* Go kick fear in the butt!

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  2. AH I LOVE THIS. *hugs it forever*

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  3. I love your picture of fear! This post reminds me of the lyrics to Papercut by Linkin Park, even if you aren't into that kind of music, I feel the lyrics are very true! Twenty One Pilots also does some pretty good stuff with the Blurryface concept.

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    Replies
    1. I know music is kind of off topic, but Papercut came on JUST as I started reading the post

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    2. Ahhhh I will have to check it out. Thanks for reading! :)

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  4. This is very encouraging, I`m going to smack fear in the face!

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  5. Thanks so much for this post! Fear and security are things I have struggled with in general in the past. The scariest thing for me as a writer was the day I actually sent my work to someone. I was SO nervous. But she liked it and offered tips to make it better. I never could improve if I couldn't take some compliments and friendly criticism. It was also really scary when I handed what little of my manuscript I had to my mom. I just had never shared my work and while I think I could do it with strangers, sharing it with friends and family is 100x as bad. But she like it, too, and is also helping me improve. :)

    Also, I tagged you for the Liebster Award if you're interested :D

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  6. Thanks so much for this post! Fear and security are things I have struggled with in general in the past. The scariest thing for me as a writer was the day I actually sent my work to someone. I was SO nervous. But she liked it and offered tips to make it better. I never could improve if I couldn't take some compliments and friendly criticism. It was also really scary when I handed what little of my manuscript I had to my mom. I just had never shared my work and while I think I could do it with strangers, sharing it with friends and family is 100x as bad. But she like it, too, and is also helping me improve. :)

    Also, I tagged you for the Liebster Award if you're interested :D

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm sorry again that I didn't see it :/ So glad you enjoyed his post! Yes, sharing work is the hardest. I recieved some really harsh critiquing from my INTP cousin who did not take it easy on my first draft, and that really gave me a tough skin for criticism!

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  7. AMEN. AMEN. AMEN. This is all SO TRUE. I think when writers acknowledge their fears, they diminish. That's why the writing/blogging community is so important!

    Also, I really enjoy your blog! I'm looking forward to sticking around and reading more as well as getting to know you better ;)

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    1. Oh my word. Thank you so much! That made my day! I'm so glad you enjoy it :D

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  8. Love this post! I'm about to start a novel so this is GREAT! :) Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    Hannah :)
    CompletelyForHim.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for dropping by! Good luck on your new novel. NO FEAR! :D

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  9. LOVE this so so much! I really needed to hear this because I'm currently editing and fear is definitely trying his hardest to take over. If I get overwhelmed I'm just going to come back and read this!
    P.S. I feel like we need to have a good long writerly chat sometime soon :D

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    Replies
    1. Awww shanks. I'm so glad you liked! *hugs* Yes yes, we must have chat. :D

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  10. I really need this right now. I've been fearful about a lot of things. Not just writing. Thanks for this.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it helped! :) Fight the fear! <3

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  11. YESSS TO THIS POST. XD And omg I love how you said that about rewriting books and NOT needing them to be perfect on the first try. Yuuuuus. I agree 1000%. It took me years to learn that, but now that I stop trying to be perfect on my first draft, I barely ever get writers block. HUZZAH. XD
    (And also: every time I see an author defending their books...I just cringe. I really think authors have to just ignore their book once they give it to the world. I don't think they relinquish rights on it or anything? It is still THEIR book. But I don't think they ever belong in discussion about it. It's just too icky. D:)
    EXCELLENT AND VERY MOTIVATING POST. XD
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. Yessss it was terrible. Like, it's one thing for an author to answer questions, but if the discussion is negative the author should really just ... stay away. The readers have the right to have their own opinions, and the author arguing with them will not help at all.
      Thanks for reading! <3

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  12. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. <3 It was SO encouraging.

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  13. I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for reading! :)

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  14. So yeah... I'm a new reader and I'm going to try and write something after dinner.

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