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
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
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