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5 Ways to Overcome Fears as a Writer

Overcome Fears

Overcome Fears – Establishing the Courage Once Again

Fear is an innate human emotion that manifests in various forms and intensities. As writers, we are not exempt from experiencing fear, especially when it comes to the act of writing itself. The fear of writing can be multifaceted, ranging from doubting the worth of our subjects to worrying about potentially offensive content. Additionally, fear may arise at the prospect of beginning the writing process, publishing our work, or facing the possibility of failure.

To explore further on the definition of fear, take a look at this article by Psychology Today.

In this exploration, we will explore the five common writing fears and offer actionable ways to overcome them. Embracing these fears and addressing them head-on will allow writers to flourish creatively and embark on a fulfilling writing journey.



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Fear the Subject Isn’t Worth Writing

Subject Isn’t Worth WritingOne of the primary fears that plague writers, especially beginners, is the belief that their chosen subject isn’t worthy of being put into words. This fear can be paralyzing, leading writers to doubt their ideas and question whether anyone would find value in their work.

To overcome this fear, writers must remind themselves that every subject holds significance and is worth expressing. No matter how outlandish or unconventional an idea may seem, it has the potential to resonate with readers on different levels. To begin the process, writers should muster the courage to write their stories without worrying about publication. Embrace the act of writing as a personal journey of self-expression and creativity.

Every writer has unique experiences, perspectives, and emotions that can contribute to compelling narratives. Embrace your authenticity and share your thoughts with conviction. Remember that some of the most celebrated literary works started as seemingly trivial ideas that grew into profound and impactful stories.

As a writer, you possess the power to bring your subject to life, creating a connection with your readers. Allow your thoughts to flow freely and don’t be afraid to explore uncharted territories. Trust your instincts and believe in the worthiness of your writing.

Personal Experience

A specific time I doubted a subject was when I was writing Toxic Eden. It’s a story about a toxic relationship from both ends of the relationship. I was discussing attachment issues and narcissism.

However, what I was worried about was the portrayal of the female character, Evelyn Leloup. There was doubt that her character was cartoonishly evil or narcissistic and didn’t want to exemplify her as that. She was also someone who had flaws, but then again, as a man, writing about a woman is very difficult. I also had trouble writing out my male character as someone too obsessive when he too also has flaws. I didn’t want the story to appear highly exaggerated and not realistic.

I was using some of my own experiences with dating and relationships, which actually made my main character much worse than I initially wanted to write him out as. So, I eventually wanted to scrap it until a friend of mine asked me to read it. I was nervous because she was a woman and I didn’t want her to think that I thought all females act like Evelyn.

In fact, my friend loved the story, and she believed her character was well written. She didn’t like the male character much because he was overly attached and needed to turn it down a bit. She believed that it is important to discuss female narcissism because their hidden agendas are much more sinister than male narcissists. This is all opinion based.

Fear of Writing Something Offensive

Writing Something OffensiveWriting on certain subjects can evoke the fear of unintentionally offending readers or particular groups of people. While it is essential to be mindful of sensitive topics and themes, fear should not deter writers from tackling important messages or thought-provoking subjects.

Thorough research is key to navigating controversial or taboo topics responsibly. Understanding the purpose and context of the story can help writers assess whether the message justifies potential offense. It is crucial to differentiate between addressing important issues and writing offensively for the sake of provocation. Responsible storytelling can lead to meaningful conversations and increased empathy, challenging readers to broaden their perspectives.

Before delving into sensitive subjects, take the time to engage with diverse perspectives and seek feedback from others who might be affected by the content. Approach your writing with empathy and a genuine desire to contribute positively to the conversation. Be open to revising and refining your work, ensuring that it respects the experiences and feelings of others.

Personal Experience

Writing my story Better Safe Than Sorry was a topic on OCD. This idea sprung when I was constantly checking the locks of my house and making sure everyone in the house was safe. This would happen almost five times a night in my early twenties and I said, why not write about it?

The thing is, I am not nor ever was diagnosed with OCD. What I experienced was nothing more than just a speculation of OCD or overly obsessed with a hint of paranoia. Writing this story without proper research, I felt I was going in hot water. I was worried about offending people who actually experience this and trying to overcome it and yet, I’m writing a thriller about someone with OCD.

After nearly scrapping the project, I was reading articles on OCD and learned it was much more than what I personally experienced. (Reason why I am not diagnosed with it). I watched interviews about people who suffer from it speak their experiences. I felt confident after that and decided to go on with writing the story. However, keep in mind, it is still opinion and speculation based and it is not meant to be factual. The stories I write are fictional.

Fear of Beginning the Writing Process

Beginning the Writing ProcessThe fear of starting the writing process can be overwhelming and lead to imposter syndrome, where writers doubt their abilities and feel they are unworthy of recognition. Overcoming this fear requires a shift in mindset, acknowledging that self-doubt is a common part of the creative journey.

To conquer this fear, writers should take a proactive approach. Simply begin writing, even if it means typing random words initially. The act of writing itself can help break through the mental barrier and spark creativity. Embrace the blank page as an opportunity rather than a void, and allow ideas to flow naturally as you build upon each sentence.

Set aside time each day to write, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Cultivate a writing routine that encourages consistency and helps you overcome the initial inertia. Remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s a starting point for refinement and improvement.

Engage in writing exercises or prompts to stimulate your imagination and encourage creative thinking. Share your work with supportive friends, family, or writing groups to gain valuable feedback and encouragement. Embrace the vulnerability of sharing your early drafts and trust that each step of the writing process is essential to the growth of your work.

Personal Experience

These days, for some reason I am procrastinating much more than usual. When I was preparing my concept for 8-bit, I stared at my screen and grabbed my phone and doom scrolled. For some reason as much as I love a blank page because it’s fresh and ready to have newer ideas, I didn’t know where or how to begin. So I scrolled through Instagram.

I realized that I can’t keep doing this to myself and had to put my phone to the side and write. As soon as I typed the first word, I didn’t stop. All it takes is to start.

Fear of Publishing the Work

Publishing the WorkCompleting a piece of writing is an achievement in itself, but the fear of sharing it with the world can be daunting. Writers may fear negative judgment or rejection from readers or publishers. It is essential to understand that all writers face critique and rejection at some point in their careers.

Before publishing, ensure that the work has undergone thorough revisions and edits. Recognize that not everyone’s opinion will align, and negative feedback does not invalidate the value of your work. Embrace constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Remember that every successful writer has encountered rejection and persevered, learning from each experience.

Seek out potential publications that align with your writing style and subject matter. Submit your work confidently, knowing that the act of sharing your writing is an essential part of the creative process. Even if you face rejection, view it as a chance to revise and enhance your work further. Stay persistent, and remember that every published author has faced challenges on their path to success.

Personal Experience

An experience I had was publishing Deadly Sins. It was my very first book and didn’t know how some people would react. The amount of times I was fighting myself with self doubt was countless. Would people buy it? Will they like it? Will they not? Will it be successful? Will it offend people?

All these questions and much more were racing through my thoughts. I almost didn’t want to publish it. In fact, I was looking for an excuse to extend the deadline. But it would’ve been the fifth time. After a few deep breaths, I approved the copy and published it.

Fear of Becoming a Failure

Becoming a FailureThis is a common fear in all fields. Obviously, nobody wants to fail at anything. In fact, some people think once they start something that they’ll never fail. Or they don’t believe in failing. But how does one learn without failure? Failure humbles you to do better and not give up. Keep trying and you’ll be successful.

With writing, it’s okay to fear failure. It’s a learning experience. Without it, how else will you learn to write better?

Get rid of the word failure and instead call it a life lesson. What’s the life lesson you’re taught to do better and how can you improve? When you change something that’s negative into something positive, your perception changes for the better. Ever since I started shifting my thoughts this way, I’ve felt happier in my decision making and seen improvements in my writing.

I like this article, How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure, that was published on December 10th, 2018. It was written by Susan Peppercorn for the Harvard Business Review. She talks into much further detail about this that I think will be helpful to many of you.

Personal Experience

When I first started writing, I never thought it was ever going to be good. I was going through imposter syndrome. This wasn’t who I was, I thought. Then the more I started writing, the more it became a part of my identity. People see me as a writer or only know me as one.

Then a new fear developed. What if people see me as a fraud and that I am nothing but talk? I needed to prove myself as a writer. People would often ask about new projects and I would give them a response, but sometimes I would feel it never came off as genuine.

My writing was never out in the public until I launched this blog in January 2022. Even then, I promised to publish a book, Deadly Sins at the time. When the deadline came, which was the end of the year, I had to push it back one more year. I thought nobody would take me seriously as a writer after that. Or maybe people would think I’m lying for attention.

Luckily, moments after the announcement, I had people messaging me positively. Projects don’t come overnight and it’s best to take my time. It was relieving and gave me hope to really kick this project off.

Practical steps I took were simply taking it easy on myself and to keep writing. I also have to follow a schedule. That way, I’m more organized and not all over the place. As long as things are in order, I should be able to get things done properly.

Recommended Books on Overcoming Fear

The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest: This book offers a transformative approach to self-sabotage, exploring the reasons we stand in our own way and providing insights and strategies to overcome internal barriers and climb the metaphorical mountains in our lives.

Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, PhD: A pioneering self-help book that teaches readers how to confront and transform the fear that impedes personal growth and happiness, advocating for a life of courage, action, and empowerment.

The Art of Letting Go by Nick Trenton: A reflective and practical guide on how to release emotional burdens, this book provides techniques to help readers move beyond past hurts and negative thoughts, enabling personal growth and a healthier mindset.

Final Thoughts

Writing fears are natural and can be conquered with determination and resilience. Embrace the creative journey, acknowledging that fear is an integral part of growth. By writing without judgment, addressing important themes responsibly, initiating the writing process, embracing constructive feedback, and embracing the lessons that come with challenges, writers can overcome their fears and thrive in their craft.

Do not let temporary fears hinder your permanent success. Embrace the art of storytelling with passion, curiosity, and fearlessness. Allow your writing to reflect the depths of human emotions and experiences, and trust that your voice will resonate with others who share similar fears and aspirations.

Good luck on your writing journey!