When people discover I’m a writer, frequent questions I’m asked are (1) how I got started (2) how and where I find stories ideas and (3) how I find the time to write. I’ve answered these questions at book signings, and on various blog posts, but I thought I’d put my answers together in a series I’ve aptly named START WRITING FOR THE BUSY WRITER. This series is for writers:
- Just starting out
- Who don’t know where to start their stories
- Looking for consistent story ideas
- Who want to create a solid writing habit
- With no time to write
- Who struggle with writers block
Let’s set the scene. You’re stuck in traffic, in the shower, or at your desk at work. Suddenly an idea strikes. Sparks of excitement fire through your body and your fingertips. You grab the journal in your purse, rush out of the shower-a trail of puddles in your wake, or click to open a new word document. But, as you’re about to start your masterpiece something happens. Fear crashes in like an unwanted family member who’s just said they’re staying with you for a week. You’re paralyzed and the brilliant prose that moments earlier was percolating like fresh brewing coffee, evaporates.
The definition of FEAR is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.
The moment you decide to write a piece of work, create a new habit or make a change in your regular schedule whether a physical or mental change-fear will attack you. Fear is an undeniable fact you can’t change, but the good news is you can change how you react to and face fear. One way to deal with fear is to:
IDENTIFY YOUR FEARS
Set aside five minutes by yourself with the face-your-fear-resource and ask yourself these questions:
- What’s holding me back?
- What scares me the most about writing?
Write down your top three fears. Seeing the reasons on paper will help you take the next step which is to list how you will overcome each fear. Once you complete the form, stick it by your writing space and use what you listed for your overcome as ammunition when fear attacks you. Instead of cowering and not writing, you’ll recognize your fears and already know how to push past them. Fear is an endless struggle for writers, but the trick is to tackle fear and write despite it. Once you push through the fear and create a new, consistent habit, fear will subside long enough for you to reach another plateau of personal growth.
Are you shaking your heads and saying, “I don’t know how to overcome my fears.” Not to worry. I’ve got your covered. While all fears won’t be mentioned below, hopefully they’ll give you ideas for your own.
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEARS
Fear: My writing will suck
How to overcome: Recognize it will, but you can edit your writing until it’s polished and acceptable. You can’t edit a blank page.
Fear: No one will like or appreciate my writing.
How to overcome: Realize not everyone will like what you write and it has nothing to do with you or the work you created. If we all liked the same type of writing, there wouldn’t be so many genres. Most important-even Shakespeare had critics who hated his work and bestselling authors like Stephen King receive 1 starred reviews.
Fear: I don’t have ideas
How to overcome: Ideas are all around you: nature, people, magazines, online, and on TV, you only need to recognize and capture them to create your own stories.
Fear: My grammar stinks
How to overcome: You can pay a professional editor to critique your work, use online editing programs all while learning how to write with better grammar.
Fear is a strong motivator for procrastinating or not writing, but it doesn’t have to be. You can overcome fear and write the poem, novel, screenplay, or non-fiction book growing inside you. Whenever I struggle with fear I use fear busters to help me push through so I can write.
Motivational quotes: I post them daily on my FB author page, not only for readers but for myself too. They’re wonderful reminders you’re capability of creating great work.
Writing Blogs: Find bloggers whose stories and writing journeys inspire you to write and show all writers struggle, but that progress is possible.
Writing Groups: Facebook has a lot online writing groups, many of which have writing sprints and encouragement to keep you going, supportive writers on the same journey, and resources to help you tackle any writing challenge.