Overcoming Fear Of Writing

September has arrived and nothing better than a new series on Livr(a)’s blog to celebrate it. Let’s talk a little about the processes that lead an idea to publication.

The first thing we need to overcome is fear. Yes, the fear of judgment, of the story you’re idealizing being bad, of what your mother will say if she reads what you wrote.

First, you’re not alone in this. These fears are widespread in all the people who want to be writers.

You have an idea and immediately think

“What a horrible idea, I’ll never write that. No one will ever want to read it.” In the book “Big Magic”, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the renowned Eat, Pray Love) says that if you don’t put your idea on paper, someone else will write this story.

In this beautiful book about creativity, Gilbert asks us “Do you have the courage it takes to show what is inside you? Showing what’s inside us is really hard. But it is also what will determine everything. We all have hidden wonders, but if we don’t have the courage and show them, magic doesn’t happen.

Let’s talk a little now about five common fears that afflict us when writing a book.

“I don’t have a book inside me”.

Many times, we have a need to express ourselves, to make ourselves heard, but we think, for some reason, that “there is not a book inside us”. We repeat that we have nothing to say or that people won’t listen to us.

This has a name – impostor syndrome, and it affects women much more, especially women in minority groups. It’s the feeling that you don’t know enough about a certain subject. Even people with a high level of education feel this. They believe that their ideas are invalid and that everyone already knows what they know.

“My book is not original enough”

Sometimes, people who have already overcome the first barrier and started writing their book, have to deal with the mythological monster of originality. Many people think that a book needs to bring something new, or it won’t have value. But it happens that the value of things lies in their accessibility and usability. If someone can make use of that experience, connect, discover a little more about the world and himself through that story, then it has value.

In this way, your book may be about the topic of self-esteem, which you may even consider beaten, but it will be your unique perspective, your experiences, that will make this topic important and of value to people.

“My book is not good enough”

This is another very common fear among novice authors. In fact, this fear is related to perfectionism. If you are obsessed, wanting to work on every word of your book, getting stressed due to a comma error, you are suffering from this evil. In fact, you may only be afraid of publication.

A book will not be perfect because perfection is an illusion. What is perfect for you is not perfect for your neighbour. Art is something that is never finished. You will always want to make changes, you will always think that something is missing. But we need to allow the projects to end, so we can focus on others. Do the best you can at that moment.

“My book will make people angry”.

The fear of judgment is the worst of all and can end your book. The case is that books are not made to please anyone; if you are making a book to please everyone, chances are that your story is not very interesting.

Writing a good book that takes people out of their comfort zones is always a risk. We also need to be prepared to receive criticism. But have faith in the importance of your beliefs, and build your arguments on strong foundations.

“My book will make people think I’m an idiot”.

Also related to judgment, this fear always afflicts us, maybe especially when we have a lot to lose in our careers. The fear of shame is something very strong in humans. Many people even pay for the whole writing process and then give up the book, for fear of what others will say (it happens much more than you can imagine).

Concentrate on what you believe, and know that it is very difficult that absolutely nobody will like your book. Use this fear as fuel to deliver the best book possible and know that your voice deserves to be heard.

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See too: Women who Made History in Literature – Mary Shelley