Thursday, October 31, 2019

Face Down Your Writing Fears

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 Help You Face Your Writing Fears
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 tips help me face my writing fears head on. 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!

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


  1. Thanks Edie. Every job has it’s annoying “thing” that you just have to learn to work with anyway, doesn’t it? For example, I’ve had a “talk-time” at my job for 20 years. In the beginning it loomed in the mind constantly, but now I ignore the worry about it and just help people. It’s always averaged out fine.
    The fears you describe - glad to know I’m not the only one saying those things to myself... just something to ignore regularly - and keep working!

    1. You're so right! No job—or ministry—is perfect, no matter how much we love it! Blessings, E

  2. I’ve battled fears my whole life. Why should the writing part be any different? I remind myself that fear is a liar- a rat that casts a monster shadow. I refuse to let it stop me from going where I’d planned.
    Thanks for your words today.

    1. Dalyn, I love that—a liar and rat that casts a monster shadow! Blessings, E

  3. I try to write every day. Some days I write a lot of words and some days only a few. I pray before writing. Thank you for these great tips. :-)

    1. Melissa, I'm so glad I can be an encouragement! Blessings, E

  4. Thank you. I needed to hear this today!

  5. I know my writing is good, that my stories are good. My fear is of the pain of getting jerked out of the story world when I've gone in as deep as I need to go to find the story.

  6. Thanks for the great tips, Edie!! Sharing for my fellow writer friends!