Even the most seasoned writer can sit in front of a blank page paralysed by fear.
Can I match the success of my last book?
Who wants to read what I have to say?
I’m not that good a writer, my spelling and grammar are atrocious (that’s what editors are for).
Rational or not, this fear is real and can stop people from creating a story that they need to get out. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel or a self-help book. Most don’t recognise the fear because it presents itself as excuses.
I don’t have time.
It’s a waste of my energy.
I don’t have the money.
It’s not a real occupation and is indulgent.
Then procrastination sets in.
The dishes need to be done.
Wow, look at my backyard, I’ll go mow the lawn.
I’ll just have a quick look at Facebook or Twitter, then get back to it.
I have writer’s block.
I don’t believe that writer’s block is a real thing. It’s an excuse because the writer is blocking him/herself because of these unacknowledged fears. You know how to fix that? Sit down and write!
The problem is that the writer wants to write the perfect thing straight away. They don’t want to have to write it then go over it again to make it good. Perfection is rare if not impossible with a first draft, no matter how much experience you have. And because perfection takes a lot of work, the excuses edge in again.
Fear is what stops so many people from writing anything at all, meaning that only a very small percentage of people who say they want to write a book actually do so. If you want to be in that small percentage it takes work. Here’s what you have to do:
- Avoid procrastination
- Don’t just talk about writing, actually do it.
- Hang out with other writers
- Be persistent
- Don’t let the little voice in your head get loud
- Have writing goals
- Keep writing
Fear is a normal human condition needed for survival. But writing a good or bad book isn’t going to affect our survival in the long-term. What’s the worst that can happen? You could write an average book with average acclaim. Or you could write a great book that is successful. Only the work you put in will determine the success. Even writing a bad book that no one really reads is not the end of the world (literally) but at least you’ve given it your best shot!