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How to Overcome the Number One Writer’s Enemy

When you’re writing in your private closet it doesn’t matter what you write. But when you start to write for the world, fear kicks in.

Imagine what it would feel like being naked in front of a crowd. You’ll worry about what you look like: is my stomach too big? Are my breasts too small? Am I too skinny or too fat? You’ll try to hide yourself. But it’s hard to hide when the eyes of the crowd are on you.

It’s similar to writing when you decide to go public. You worry about your grammar. Do my sentences make sense? Are my punctuation marks in the right place? Is my writing good enough? What if my article gets rejected? And the list of fears goes on.

My biggest fear was that my writing wasn’t good enough. I looked at other writers’ posts and thought to myself, “There’s no way I can write as well as they do.”

Those words played over and over in my head, until it nearly made me give up my blog. I was lucky that I had friends who had more faith in my abilities than I did. They encouraged me. And I persevered.

Fear can cripple you as a writer, unless you do something to overcome it. These are some of the strategies you can use to knock fear on the head.

Have a writing buddy

Another pair of eyes and someone else’s opinions about your writing is helpful. You might think your writing is crap. But your writing buddy can give you constructive criticism and encouragement.

The best person to have as a writing buddy is another writer. They’re able to give you a different perspective and also help you edit your writing.

Write, write and write some more

When you lose yourself in writing, there’s no room for fear. Just write and let your creative juices flow. It could be poetry, some notes, emails, entries in a journal, something you observed while you were out, or an idea for a post or article. You won’t show everything you write to the public, but it’s a good exercise for your creativity.  And it will give you writing satisfaction.

Join a writers’ group

It’s a great place to share information and get feedback about your writing. Freelance writing is a lonely job. Writing groups give you the opportunity to network and socialise with other writers.

Most writing groups have speakers who talk about the craft of writing and other writing topics. There’s usually a slot set aside for writers to discuss any issues they face with their writing. Writers are there to support and encourage each other. These groups are great for killing your writing fears.

Find a writing mentor

A writing mentor can help you take your writing to the next level. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom. A mentor will inspire, motivate and encourage you. They can even help you get valuable contacts and open doors of opportunities.

Having someone work with you on a one-to-one basis will definitely boost your confidence. They will open your eyes to the writing opportunities out there. You never know, a mentor may very well help you achieve your big break as a freelance writer. And fear will be a thing of the past.

Meditate

Ollin Morales, on Carol Tice’s  Make a Living Writing blog, shared a simple but powerful technique about meditating to get rid of fear. All you need to do is relax and take a long, deep breath. Meditation takes your focus off the fear in your mind and places it on your surroundings instead.

Fear starts in the mind. And it can undermine your confidence. If you’re not careful, it can hinder your success as a writer because it also produces procrastination.

Develop your writing skills

As a writer you should always invest in developing your skills. Knowledge is power. And power will overcome fear.

If you’re not confident in your writing abilities, take a course. Or make use of the internet, it has a lot of free resources for writers.

Maybe you just want to brush up on your grammar and punctuation skills. If so, it’s worth investing in a short evening course.

Another way of developing your writing skills is to read a lot. It will expand your vocabulary and feed your mind with new ideas.

It’s been said time and time again. The more the write, the better you get.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

If you spend time mastering your skills it will pay dividends. Confidence will replace fear as you watch your writing skills develop.

June Whittle is a blogger and writer and also a WritersinCharge team member. She has two personal blogs that she manages and writes for. She is working on her first fiction novel and eBook. She has edited two books and transcribed sermons from audio CDs for a local church.

Please stop by my main blog to find out some more about me.

31 replies on “How to Overcome the Number One Writer’s Enemy”

Hi Oni —

Thanks for the plug…but I’m not sure I can take credit for the meditation tip!

I recently posted a whole compendium of fear-busting posts, but that’s not in there.

I think my favorite fear-busting tip is to find a way to experience your fear.

Afraid people will laugh at your writing? Arrange to have that happen. Bring an article to a friend’s house and have them read it and then laugh and make fun of how bad it is.

You’ll probably end up laughing too, and realizing that your fear is unlikely to really happen.

I used to do this exercise back when I was a songwriter, when we were afraid of being laughed at on stage. It’s very freeing!

People will laugh at anything they think is strange for them. The biggest fear IMO is actually all gramma fault. Not many are great with gramma, and readers may get annoyed by gramma error, but one should never give up if ones article is good!

June Whittlesays:

Sorry for the confusion Carol. I found the link on your blog but should have credited Ollin.

I love the tip you shared about laughing at your writing. It sounds like good writing therapy to me.

I’m a member of the Den and thanks for your support there. You’re an inspiration to me.

My mind have been many times blown up by just being a member and regular reader of this blog…

I just started my freelance biz few months ago, and i have learned a lot. In fact my earnings are growing rapidly. My goal this year is to apply all the principle stated on this blog to get maximum results.

All things are possible

Bamidele, God bless you…. Naija

June Whittlesays:

Good luck with your freelance business.

And I agree, Oni has some first class tips on this blog. I’m sure they will take your business to the next level.

Sorry for the error above, i didn’t proof read…

Best Regards

Bamidele Onibalusisays:

Now fixed 🙂

I faced the same problem too but I found a writing buddy who writes for a certain blog.

Thank you so much for this article. I have shared it already with my friends on Facebook.

Keep on making this world a better place.

June Whittlesays:

Thanks for sharing Samuel. I appreciate it. It does make a difference when you have someone else to encourage you.

Being a writer may not be easy sometimes. A writer needs to have belief in himself. If a writer looses his confidence then he may never be able to write what he actually wants to write. I appreciate your idea that for overcoming the fear definitely a friend who can appreciate the writing skills will be very helpful to give motivation.

June Whittlesays:

Writing is great but it can also be tough. Yes you’re right about confidence. It plays a big part in the quality of content we produce.

Writing can also be compared to travelling on a road alone. You need others to walk with you and support you along the way. Thanks for your comments.

James Hannansays:

Thanks June. You are quite right. Its very hard to write for public and there the fear comes. You post will help to overcome fear of writing.

June Whittlesays:

Thank you James. I hid behind the closet for a long time before I felt confident to reveal my writing to the public. But fear can also keep us on our feet.

If we get too comfortable with our writing, there’s a possibility that complacency will set it. Instead of having a fear of writing we should have a fear of not writing properly. I hope that makes sense!

Hi,

All tips right on the target but i impressed by this one “”Join Writers Group”” because i think there will be more things to learn which will give good return to you and they will ready to help you when you stuck somewhere.

June Whittlesays:

Yes it’s good to belong to a writer’s group. Feedback from other experienced writers will help to address any writing problems you face. You’ll also be able to learn from others and share ideas. 🙂

Writing for a public audience can be fun and scary at the same time. It’s the level of confidence of the writer that will determine how he takes the negative criticisms.

It is possible to measure just how good your writing is. Humans naturally find it easier to condemn than to praise. So sometimes, waiting for someone to give you a thumbs up could take ages. If my writing attracts lots of negative criticisms, then I know it needs improvement. On the other hand, if the thumb downs are little, then I must be doing something right.

As you said June, getting a writing buddy is a good start. Having more than one would also make sense.

Keep up the good work!

June Whittlesays:

Thanks Lanre. The other thing I find scary is when you write articles and hardly anyone post comments on them. When that happens to me it makes me wonder if it’s because my writing is not up to scratch. I don’t know which is better, getting negative criticism or no comments!

Anyway, like you said, our level of confidence will determine how we handle those situations. That’s why as writers, we need others to support and encourage us, so we don’t get too discouraged. At the end of the day, we have to overcome fear in whatever form it comes.

Great post, June. All the points you raised are valid ones for writers to achieve their goals. I find that writing is a great way to improve your art. This is why a blog is extremely helpful to writers.

June Whittlesays:

Thanks Ann. Having a blog is a fantastic way to get your foot on the writing ladder. It’s given me a lot of confidence and also connected me to some wonderful writers.

Do you know something else that I found touching? The students that I teach have been really supportive. When I tell them that I have a blog, their faces light up. One of them even gave me permission to publish an essay on my blog that she wrote for her GCSE English Literature course work.

And yes, the more you write, the better you will get.

Writing has given me a lot of joy. 🙂

SuccinctBillsays:

June,
Kudos on telling people about how meditation can help with writing. I spend much of my time writing for my regular job and have started blogging online. I can’t tell you how important meditation is to the creative process. It calms your nerves, like you said, but it also helps you focus and breaks writer’s block.

I recently completed a 30-day meditation challenged and created a Slideshare slideshow on what exactly I did. It’s a pretty good primer for anyone interested in starting to meditate.
http://www.slideshare.net/JobsinAyurveda/30-day-meditationchallenge

June Whittlesays:

Meditation is fantastic for clearing the clutter from your head. I get carried away sometimes when I’m writing and sit at the computer for hours. It’s not good! I usually end up with an achy back and after a while I can’t think clearly.

Just simply taking a break, doing some deep breathing and stretching does wonders to get me back on track.

Thanks for your advice. 🙂

Really nice post to encourage writers. I have same feeling , because i am not good in English Grammar. People will get idea even though we had bad English grammar , but they will never return next time. Having good English grammar and ideas are the best things to get more viewers it is crucial for a writer

June Whittlesays:

Good English grammar is definitely needed for writing. If you don’t feel confident with your writing abilities, it’s a good idea to take a short course. There are also lots of free resources online to help improve your writing and grammar skills.

Plus, like I said in the article, having a writing buddy is a great idea. You can support and encourage each other and even learn together.

Nice info which will be prove so useful for all blogger and online marketers. That kind of activities also make very good and nice way to search our destination.

June Whittlesays:

Thanks Becca. I think it’s important to support each other and share ideas. That’s why I love Oni’s blog. It’s about empowering other writers to succeed. 🙂

IGBALAYE OLAYEMIsays:

There are a lot of things we should put into consideration when writing an article either for our site or for clients, but the major one is to be focus and persist to succeed no matter how hard the writing. we should also focus on writing great and unique content to help not only our site but to help build our writing skills. thanks for sharing Oni

June Whittlesays:

I couldn’t agree more. Focus and commitment are two of the most essential keys that will lead to success as a writer. Also, if you’re focused you’ll naturally produce great content.

And the more you build your writing skills, the less fear will have any control over your writing. Thanks for your comments.

Fear. Afraid of getting caught in “possession of wrong grammar” ha ha! This makes me pause and reflect if indeed I can write. Whew! This post is a great help for me! Thanks June.

June Whittlesays:

You’re welcome! I’m sure you can write. I’m so glad that this post is helpful to you. 🙂

khabrichachasays:

A mentor is must in this case, and meditation is the key to success.

Good words. I appreciate

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