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.
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.