Friday, October 4, 2019

Don't Be 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

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.

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.

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!



  1. Another HUGE one is God's timing. Not there and not now may be part of the wait.

  2. Amen Ms. Edie. Writing, especially Christian writing, is the hardest job I've ever loved. Is it painful? Yes. Is is difficult? Yes. Does it pay well? No! Is it worth it when someone comments on something you've written; especially when they don't know you wrote it? Absolutely. I love how you and your contributors always help us to make a positive impact for God's kingdom. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. Thank you, Edie, this really speaks to me today.

  4. That reminds me of the late author P.G. Wodehouse. Even when he was in his seventies with over seventy novels to his credit and hundreds of short stories, he always thought that his latest work would be rejected and public would turn its (their?) nose of at it.

  5. A fear would be I'll never figure this marketing thing out...

  6. My current WIP is making my brain hurt! But I must press on, because I am writing it for my grandkids and their generation, and I seek to pass on my faith through it.

  7. LOVE these tips, Edie! So helpful and encouraging!