Friday, October 30, 2015

Face Your Writing Fears—9 Tips to Keep from Becoming a Scaredy-Cat Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The season of spooks is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we can give in to the fears we face as writers. We must face our writing fears and keep moving.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine and this person confided that she was afraid she didn’t have what it takes to be a writer. “I’m just not good enough to get a book published, and I don’t know if I ever will be.”

“Welcome to the club,” I told her.

My answer wasn’t what she expected. She had forgotten something we had heard together at a conference many years ago. We’d been listening to an established author talk about his own fear and inadequacies. He told the audience that every time he sits down to write a new book, the fears resurface and he’s certain he no longer has what it takes to make it in publishing.

Hearing him confess his own fears gave me hope. Beyond that, it brought home an important fact. Being published—no matter if it’s a single book or a hundred—won’t necessarily make the fear disappear.

So what’s a writer to do?

Tips to Keep From Becoming a Scaredy-Cat Writer
Don't be a Scaredy-Cat Writer
1. Write Regularly. For some of us that means daily. For others it means on the weekend, or three days a week. The truth is, mood is a fickle mistress and time is NEVER lying around waiting to be found!

2. Choose to Ignore the Negative Voices in Your Head. We all have them—those irritating whispers that tell us we’re not good enough, and we’re selfish to even try to follow our dreams. We can write anyway, or we can cave in to our insecurities. Published writers keep writing, no matter what those voices say.
  
3. Write Outside Your Comfort Zone. The publishing industry is in a constant state of change. What you write today, may not be popular five years from now. As a writer, you’ll have to constantly be changing and growing. Get used to it now and avoid the deer-in-the-headlights reaction when change comes your way.

4. Find a Writing Tribe. This is a tough enough business without trying to fly solo. We all need fellow writers who understand what we’re doing. These fellow travelers will keep us accountable and encourage us when we think we can’t go any further.

Write when you don't have the time.
5. Write When You Don’t Have the Time. So often I hear people who want to be published talk about how they’ll start when they find the time. The truth is that time is NEVER lying around waiting to be found. Following our dreams takes sacrifice. We must be willing to make the hard choices and carve out time to write.

6. Stay Active in the Industry. Join writing groups—locally and online. Give back to the writing community at large by volunteering to help others. Trust me when I tell you that no matter where you are in your writing journey, there are those less experienced. And by staying active, it’s harder to quit. The times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel it was having to answer to others that kept me going.

Write when you're not inspired.
7. Write When You’re NOT Inspired. We cannot wait for the mood strike to write. Inspiration is a fickle mistress. If we’re serious about pursuing publishing dreams, we must move beyond depending on our mood to be able to write.

8. Remind Yourself Why You Write. For me, written words are the way I process life. I don’t talk things out, I write things out. God designed me to be like this. Writing is His gift to me. I have those words taped above my desk so I’ll never forget.

9. Write Through the Fear. Being a published writer goes hand in hand with fear. We’re afraid we won’t be good enough to be published, then that no one will read the book, and finally that we won’t be able to write another book.

These are my tips to keep from being a scaredy-cat writer. What would you add to the list? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

Face down your #writing fears with these 9 tipsfrom author @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

24 comments:

  1. #10 - Don't compare yourself to other writers. It's so easy to look at others and feel inadequate. Comparison only feeds the fear.

    #11 - Drink lots of coffee! Okay, so maybe that's not directly related. But have a cup or two for good measure! ��

    Timely post, Edie! My excitement over NaNoWriMo is turning into fear. Nevertheless, here we go!

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    1. Amanda, GREAT additions! Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  2. I need to read this every morning, holding my coffee, to give me the confidence I need to tackel my proposal. I wish there were writing groups closer. I've even tried to start one. Blessings, Edie!

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  3. *Tackle* sorry it's early! ๐Ÿ˜œ

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    1. Erin, I think I'm going to print it out and keep it near my desk! LOL! Blessings, E

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  4. #8 stood out to me, Edie. I also process life through writing (just ask the hubby!) but I'd never really considered that writing is God's gift to me. Thanks for the encouragement and shift in perspective.

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    1. Cathy, a lot changed when I began to look at my writing that way. Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

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  5. As I've learned, write through your health challenges. I tried to quit but God made me very uncomfortable with that. If we're called to write, we'll never be content unless we do. Thanks for the reminders. I need them often. God bless you.

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    1. Bruce, you are an inspiration!!! Blessings, E

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  6. I have a character that is so quiet, she hardly speaks to me! But I've found that if I make myself BICHOK, she's beginning to reveal secret fears. That won't happen if I don't write.

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    1. Ane, I'm so glad you shared that! So many writers don't understand you have to sometimes spend time with your characters before they reveal themselves. Hmmmm just like in real life! Blessings, E (and for those not family with the acronym she used its: Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard)

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  7. Agree with all and #4 jumped out at me. I would modify it to read "Find OR CREATE a writing tribe." I created one that has a range of wannabes to published. We share, nudge, & inspire - all in supportive ways. It's online and some have never met. Since I share this blog with them, I should add #10: find and share your favorite blog and resources Staying connected to writers who do well what you MUST do it a huge part of the journey.

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    1. Jay, you are so right about number 4! I had to create mine tribe too. And I agree with number 10 - thank you for sharing!! Blessings, E

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  8. Great article, Edie. #7 stood out for me; yes, I NEED to write even when I'm not inspired to do so. When my daughter expressed her fear at auditioning for the drum major of her high school marching band, I told her that if she auditioned, she had a 50-50 chance of becoming drum major. BUT if she did not audition, she had a 100% chance of not making it. Same with writing. Oh, by the way, she chose to ignore her fears, auditioned, and became the drum major. I'm taking my own advice and applying it to my writing. Thanks, Edie!!

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    1. Cynthia, what a great story! Thanks so much for sharing your own journey, Blessings, E

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  9. Great tips, Edie! Thank you. I like Number 7. Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” William Faulkner boasted he only wrote when he was inspired. He then said, "Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning."
    I would add Point 10: Writing is discipline. You give hints of this in many of your points. We will never FIND the time to write. We MAKE the time to write by controlling our schedule. Don't wait for the muse. Drag it kicking and screaming into your writing space. Write regularly. That takes discipline. We have to hold ourselves accountable. Who else will?
    Thanks for an inspiring post.

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    1. Henry, I love that quote from Jack London! And yes, your number is much clearer and soooooo true! Thanks for adding your insight, Blessings, E

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  10. Great tips! And I know I say this often, but I'll say it again: The NaNoWriMo approach to writing eliminates many of the problems and promotes many of the solutions listed here (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9). Rooting for all NaNoWriMo ninjas this November :)

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    1. Patricia, I agree completely. NaNoWriMo is a good discipline for all of us who write. We need to know how to turn off our internal editor and bang out the story. I'm doing NaNo this year and I'm rooting for everyone too! Blessings, E

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  11. Thank you, Edie. I truly needed this encouragement right now. Blessings!

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    1. Linda, that's what community is about. We're there for each other! when you share that you need encouragement, others don't feel as alone or inadequate! Thanks so much for dropping by! Blessings, E

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  12. Great post and reminders. Being able to share my fears with some close author friends behind the scenes (in private) has helped me. I hope this helps others feel that they aren't alone.

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    1. Lynn, I think you're so right! Just last week a writing buddy had to "talk me off the ledge" - it's happens to all of us. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  13. I'm behind in my blog reading, but this post really hits home Edie. With my first book under contract I've been battling the fear I can't do it again! Thank you so much for reminding me of what I already know because I faced all the same doubts and insecurities getting that contract!

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