Overcome Your Fear of Writing: An Excerpt From Write Like You Mean It
Have you ever written something and been too scared to share it? Do you have what you feel are great stories sitting in piles of spiral notebooks that have never seen the light of day?
Are you fearful of the 5,325,001 terrifying outcomes of letting a stranger read your work?
You're not alone. Writers of all experience levels and walks of life are burdened by fear every day. We know it's simply part of the creative process, and yet, so many of us let it hold us back – time and time again. But why? After all, we love to write! Why be afraid of what we love?
Writing means something to us. It makes us happy and fulfilled.
When I began writing Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word (published by Brown Books Publishing Group), my goal was to have a down-to-earth conversation about writing and how we can all be better at it. And the first place I wanted to start was by talking about our fear of writing – especially since I face the same internal struggles that you do. Even today, nearly 25 years after I started my writing career, I get scared of what people will think, what they'll say, and if they'll take my passion for the written word seriously. I felt those fears even as I was writing my book.
I think sharing those fears in Write Like You Mean It and offering solutions that have worked for me helps other writers realize that they're not alone and that it is OK to be a little fearful. The trick is not to let those fears keep us from becoming the writers we want to be.
The excerpt below is a peek behind the curtain at what many writers experience. It also acts as a launching pad for the tips, tricks, and life hacks included in the rest of the book. To start writing, you first have to overcome your fears. Once you can do that, the writer's life is full of endless possibilities.
Beyond the fear of being dismissed as amateurs and having our love for the craft thrown back in our faces before anyone ever reads a word, many aspiring writers have a secondary fear of sharing their work – having it published and potentially read by hundreds of thousands of people – and subsequently judged. Even if we don't necessarily fear the act of writing poetry, song lyrics, blogs, newspaper articles, or novels, we hold back out of fear of what people will say or think, how they'll react, and what type of feedback they'll give.
"What if they find a mistake?" we worry.
"What if they call me a fraud?"
"Am I ready for what people might say about this?"
It's like the movie Back to the Future, where Marty McFly travels back in time to 1955 and ultimately runs into his parents. There's a scene between Marty and his teenage father, George, in the high school cafeteria that illustrates this exact fear. Marty is trying to convince George to ask Lorraine out for a date when he gets sidetracked. George is barely listening as he feverishly writes in a notebook. When Marty asks George what he's doing, he is shocked to find out that George loves to write sci-fi stories. Marty reaches across the table to see if he can read some of it, but George stops him and insists that he never lets anyone read his stories. When Marty asks why, George says, "Well, what if they didn't like them? What if they told me I was no good? I guess that would be pretty hard for somebody to understand."
I can't blame anyone for struggling with this aspect of fear. There is an incredible amount of vulnerability that comes with writing something and then putting it out there for the masses. After all, we're also putting a piece of ourselves out there.
I'm not God's gift to writing, but I've learned a thing or two over the years, and my message to other writers is this: You are talented. Your work deserves to see the light of day. Readers deserve to experience your passion.
So get out there and share your creation – and write like you mean it!
How can you get your hands on Write Like You Mean It?
This book is for writers of all experience levels, genres, and professional pursuits. Whether you’re a journalist, college writer, aspiring freelancer, or future novelist, this book is for you, so you too can Write Like You Mean It!
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Thank you for reading!
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX, and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.