Get Over Your Fears For Writing
Pointers to Publishing | Writing
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. You have heard this before but where is it coming from? Well, a number of places; like your mind working overtime, your friends’ experiences or their own fears influencing yours, your parent’s fears, things you were told from your past especially in primary or high school- that one place that could make or break your dreams. No matter the influence, the end result is the same; you don’t get a move on with your writing and you are stuck in the same place for years to come. How does that make you feel?
Instead of allowing these false evidences to stop you in your tracks, I think it is more debilitating to not progress or move forward with your dreams or desires. Make sense?
I will share a few tips that I believe can help you but one thing you must know and that is thinking about it will also delay you taking action and thus allow more fear to step in and procrastination; fear’s best friend. I know it all too well.
The first thing you need to realize and accept is that you don’t have to be ready to write.
I saw a quote recently that states…
“The key to success is to start before you are ready”
- Marie Forleo - Marketing and Lifestyle Expert-Best-Selling Author
So what does readiness entail anyway and how long will it take you to get to that point?; What is that point that you think will allow others to accept you? No one knows! I surely don’t!
So just start writing.
You are not an athlete preparing for the Olympics where you need to do a certain level of training to attain the gold medal. Yes, you should take an interest and invest in yourself should you really desire to take your writing seriously. You can do so by reading on the topic especially the genre you wish to pursue as well as attend as many workshops, trainings and seminars; anything that would allow you to build your confidence even further including interacting with other writers who can share their stories and teach you better ways to handle your craft plus the bonus of having an audience who would be more than willing to listen to you when you are ready to publish or share your own work and maybe purchase a few and recommend as well.
This is why I joined the substack community. If you read my post on ‘Why am I here?’ (to hyperlink) you would have gotten a preview into my backstory with Substack.
If the tips above don’t move you and you still feel strickened and paralysed with fear as you call it, then my next suggestion is that you start writing a journal. It can be a handwritten journal or an online journal like www.penzu.com. Just keep writing daily and set a schedule that keeps you consistent. Consistency is key to allaying the fears and continues to increase your confidence plus keep the creative juices flowing.
Next, you can decide after a while, after mustering up the faith in yourself that you are ready to share your work; maybe you can start with your three closest friends but I would rather you share it with a family member, a neighbour and for want of a better word, ‘your enemy’ or someone that you are not really close to that you don’t get along with. I know you may be thinking, “How will I approach that ‘enemy’?”. That’s one way of getting over the fear as well and that’s my challenge to you. Find a way, you can do this! Just know that once your ‘enemy’ gives you the thumbs up or feedback, that there is no emotional bias attached to it and that you can take his or her words to the bank. It would be really good advice plus you can decide if you want to accept it or not based on how emotionally strong you are and how serious you are about moving ahead with your writing. Don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of your progress, no matter who says or what happens.
Writing a blog is also a good start as this allows you to share your thoughts and writings openly and it’s like having a journal online but this time it is no secret unlike penzu which you can keep secret or share if you wish. Blogs allow for others anywhere in the world to see your work and comment on it. This may be encouraging for you as persons whom you don’t know (yet) will be seeing your work and showing appreciation for it and even suggest places you can publish or get known (like substack). Relationships can be developed and deepened helping to build your confidence and get rid of the fears you once had.
Finally, you can choose some of your best work and submit it to a local or community newspaper near you or other publication of your choice for publishing or review. I did that with the Jamaica Gleaner and was offered a contract. I wrote for them for many years and you are benefitting from those now; all in one place!
Maybe after you received such positive rave reviews from those suggested above and from your blogs on certain written pieces, you can select those for submission to the publication. You just never know where this will take you. A plunge in the deep end will be also going after competitions for your blog or written work. Many competitions are out there; you just need to search them out and give it a go. Just know that some are paid and some are free but the aim of all this is to get you to work on your fear, build your confidence, network with those in the industry and maybe, just maybe develop a career in writing. It is possible!
Disclaimer: This article was first published with the Jamaica Gleaner and has been edited and updated for the audience here at Substack.