Four Writing Fears, Debunked

Photo credit: Daryl Cauchi on Flickr
Seeing how it's Halloween today, I thought it appropriate to talk about fear. But as we've already discussed fears that our characters have, I'd like to discuss another aspect of fear — fears that writers often have.

At a first glance, writing doesn't seem like such a terrifying endeavor—I mean, it's not like skydiving from space, or free climbing the Eiffel Tower—but setting down the path of becoming a writer, especially a writer who writes novel-length works, is quite the commitment, and it's not often an easy journey.

That being said, here are four fears that writers often have, and why you shouldn't let them scare you.

  1. My writing will never be good enough. This isn't a fear exclusive to new writers—writers of all skill levels and experience often worry that their writing isn't any good, that whatever success they've had is a fluke, that secretly they're terrible writers that have been faking it. Writers without publishing credentials, meanwhile worry that their writing is so terrible they'll never be good enough to publish—traditionally or independently.

    This is a fear that works against you, especially if you allow it to discourage you into not writing. Regardless of what your skill level is, the only way to improve your writing is to write, and yes, sometimes that means writing badly. But if writers only wrote when they thought their writing was amazing, only the most arrogant of writers would write while everyone else allowed self-doubt to stop them from doing what they love. 

  2. I'm wasting my time—this WIP will never be up to par. This tends to be a first draft fear, but it's been known to creep in during revisions, as well. No one ever said writing was easy, and refining a WIP to completed novel is even more difficult, but the only way that fear will come true is if you give up on the WIP. Work hard, revise, get tons of feedback and revise again and you'll reach a level of refinement that you hadn't originally thought possible. 

  3. I'll never finish anything. In many ways, completing your first novel is the most difficult—particularly when you've started and abandoned writing projects in the past. I've written about this before, but just because you haven't finished a novel yet doesn't mean that you can't—it just means you have to sit down and be patient with yourself and the process, and persevere through the monumental task of completing a novel. 

  4. I'll never be published. This, to me, is the scariest fear because it may actually be true. But this isn't a fear that I want to debunk, per say—it's one that I think every writer should come to terms with. No, you might not get published. There's a very real possibility that the novel you're writing, and the next one after that and after that may eventually end up in the drawer. But if your sole purpose of writing is to get published, then you might want to re-evaluate your reasons for putting words to the page. Getting published should never be your sole reason for writing, but if you can continue to write knowing that you may never be published, then you're on the right track. 

What writing fears have you fought against? Any extra tips for overcoming them?

16 comments:

vilite246 said...

Great post :) My greatest fear is that the names of things in my novels will get confusing XD Some things are in English, others are in Greek with the letters rearranged until they sound right...... any tips?

Laura Marcella said...

These are great tips except for the last one. I think that every writer who works hard at their craft, continues striving to improve, learn everything they can, practice writing and revising, and regularly submits their work WILL be published eventually. It might not happen this year or even in ten years but it will happen. You can't just submit one thing a year or only write a novel during NaNoWriMo. You must work on your writing, getting better and better, every day. The writer who persists will be published. I truly believe that!

Margaret Alexander said...

Another thing about "not being published" is that you now have the power to publish yourself. So even if you may never be traditionally published, if that really is the case, you always have the alternative. Spot on about those fears, and LOL at the pic :D

Ruth Ellen Parlour said...

I struggle with self doubt but I just keep thinking to myself, if I keep practising I'm only going to get better. And I keep going!

Ava Jae said...

Hmm. What genre are you writing in?

Ava Jae said...

Very true! I would've included that, but I didn't want it to sound like a last-resort option, because the decision to self-publish shouldn't be just in case you can't get traditionally published. But you're right--there always is that option. And I'm glad you liked the picture--I thought it was fitting and fun. :D

Ava Jae said...

Yes! That's a great mindset to have. ^_^

Sarah Anne Foster said...

I think my biggest problem is not finishing my work (funny, I just blogged about this yesterday). A lot of times those other fears you mentioned can keep you from finishing, if you find that you're doubting yourself the entire way.

Ava Jae said...

That's a great point about the fears being related in the sense that giving in to one leads to seeing the others come true (at least, when it comes to being afraid that you'll never finish). You're absolutely right.

vilite246 said...

Fantasy XD

Ava Jae said...

Ah, ok that makes sense. I'd say your best bet is probably testing it out with beta readers. If your betas tell you that they were confusing, you know you might have to consider changing it. Until you're ready for the beta stage however, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You can always fix it later. :)

Ava Jae said...

I absolutely agree, Margaret--and you're right about some authors finding great success with self-publishing when they couldn't break into traditional otherwise (i.e.: Amanda Hocking). It certainly can happen!

ArkAngel said...

Glad to realize that I don't care whether or not I ever get published. I've been writing since before I knew there was a profit in it or some form of credential. Fourth grade was my first complete short story: The Golden Bracelet. Good times, good times. Ava, have you ever felt compelled to write a sequel once you've finished a WIP because you can't let go of the characters/setting?

Ava Jae said...

I wrote a post a while back about why I haven't written a sequel yet, but the short answer is that while I've thought about it, I haven't ever actually done so.

ArkAngel said...

It's funny: right after I commented on this, I found that post ^_^

Ava Jae said...

Excellent! :)

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