Thursday, April 7, 2011

A to Z Challenge: Fear

We all have it. That niggling feeling in the back of our minds. 

I can't do this. How will I ever be able to do the story justice? There's just too much... 

It usually starts as doubt, or we think it is doubt, that small question in our mind asking us how we think we'll get this done. Not particularly damaging in itself, but it grows into those thoughts above, spinning and whirling them in our heads until those fears are the only things that we can hear. 

It drowns out everything as we write. The voice, the story, the characters... Everything. And we are left panicking even more because now we are left without the thing that gives us our identity as writers. We can't create. 

And so the fear grows as we splash against a growing vortex that has us firmly in its grip. 

But there is a saving grace: We have a life line that prevents us from getting sucked in. We're tied to safety by our belief in ourselves.
Deep down we know that we are better than the things we fear. That we can overcome every one of those obstacles. Go look for it. Maybe it's far away, but it will be there. 

Don't you doubt that knowledge. Because that's what makes it possible for you to swim away from the vortex. 

But for it to work, you have to swim. If you stop swimming, you get sucked closer again. 

And that's where writing comes in. 

If you were waiting for me to tell you how to make the fear go away, sorry, I can't. Because you can't. 

You must write through it. The more you write, the fainter that fear becomes. But give that fear too much credence, and it will suck you back. 

So... to beat that fear. Sing with me: 

Just keep writing 
Just keep writing 
Just keep writing writing writing...


I want to know from you: What do you fear most when you write? (Have a sneaking suspicion I know what 90% of you are going to say... But still want to know out of interest.)


  1. How very true, these thoughts often held me back, but I fought through them and still they pop back up now and again! :0)

  2. And they will keep popping up. It's part of the game! Good luck with fighting them down again! :-D

  3. Used to be a fear that it wouldn't be very good. Got over it though (mostly).

  4. I fear that it isn't as good as it should be, and that I'm deluding myself like all those poor people on American Idol. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who gets 'the fear.'

  5. Fear pops up like moles in the Whack-A-Mole arcade game and ya just have to WHACK 'em back down. At least that's what I do.

  6. I fear most just not being good enough. It tears me apart! But the way through it is to keep writing, keep going, and then I enjoy what I am creating and think maybe, perhaps... :)

    You are one of my A-Z highlights for today!

  7. Misha, I think last years post for me was FEAR.. I am not that much of a writer... like all you amazing novelists... but I have fear.. with starting my own business... and new endeavears.. that promote me.. LOL
    great current post

  8. My biggest fear while writing is that it's just not good, and will never be good enough. Especially after finishing a first draft (mine are always riddled with grammatical errors, awkward phrasing, and empty moments that just NEED more) it can get especially fearful that what I just spent so much time on is just. Not. Good.

  9. I don't know that I really fear anything about writing except perhaps that I won't get something finished. And yet I've proven to myself over and over that I can because I have.

  10. I fear shame. Someone pointing out a grammer error that i have missed, evan after proofing twelve times. Someone laughing at my characters when I meant it to be a love scene- you get the point.

  11. I think writers are so self-critical. As you say, just keep writing.

  12. Yeah the self-deprecating self-editor within needs to shut up and just let me work.

    Alex from Breakfast Every Hour was here.

  13. I fear not having enough time to place all my thoughts.Fear actually makes us realize we are human, an instinct to sharpen our senses.

  14. I fear that people are going to read it and think, "This is stupid."

    When I sing that little mantra to myself am I meant to be thinking of Dory from Finding Nemo? Because I do!

  15. Lately I've been particularly beholden to fear. Something I need to work on. Thanks.

  16. FDR said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." When I write, I'm always afraid I might become afraid of fear.

    That, or that all my adverbs will eventually rise up against me.

  17. I fear that I'll be putting all my time and energy into something that'll go nowhere. But you're right, you just gotta write through it. Because the only way for that fear not to come true is to never give up!

  18. Great post! The thing I fear the most when writing is that I don't know enough to write a story the way it needs to be written.

    "Just keep writing...just keep writing...just keep writing."

  19. Ah that fear! We have our ups and downs with each other. Sometimes I think, well, that's quite good writing, and other times I'm like: nobody will ever like this. Even for free...
    - andrea

  20. Christine had said fear I am deluding myself about how good my writing is. That is definitely one of my fears, too. More than that lately--fear that no one outside myself will read what I have written. I guess that means fear of never being published.

  21. I'm doing a post on fear today, too, but I haven't posted it yet. :D

    Fear (the doubt kind of fear when writing) is a hard thing. In writing, the fear I struggle with the most is that what I'm writing won't come to anything, that no one will like it, that it won't make a difference if I wrote it. Which, of course, I know is not true, but it's that niggling doubt that has to get banished.

    Thank you for the post!

  22. *Repeats the mantra*

    Just keep writing
    Just keep writing

    (Hopefully it will work) =D

  23. Your post reminded me of Dory the fish from "Finding Nemo". I imagined myself swimming through the sea singing that song.

  24. Wow. I am just at that beginning point in my manuscript where I'm starting to feel these doubts and fears creeping up. It is so good to know that those are normal, others have had and dealt with them, and that it should in no way stop me from writing. Thanks for the great post :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  25. I get to thinking, "who do I think I'm kidding! And what makes me think for a minute that I can write a book?" Then something happens, like a brilliant idea, or someone says something encouraging, out of the blue, and I'm back at it again!

    The strangest thing that ever happened when I had those doubts happened while I was driving down a winding dirt road, pondering those negative thoughts, and I got a random text message from a total stranger that said, "What are you writing, a novel?" As it turned out, it was a wrong number...

    Something told me to keep going!

    I think we all have these doubts sometimes, but that just makes us stronger... and vigilant!

  26. Oh, those bouts of insecurity. Somedays I wonder what the heck I'm doing. But the ideas keep coming and I just keep writing.

  27. The thing I fear most when I write? That I'll never truly communicate the story that's in my head onto the page. I can picture the world, I can talk with the characters, I know what people are supposed to say . . . but in a document, all of that is different from what I originally thought.

  28. Fear that I won't meet the deadline for my book's submission. That's a biggie!

    Thanks for the post,

  29. My biggest feat is getting it wrong. I am tackling an ambitious project and I know almost anyone could do it justice better than I.

    Great post. I wrote about fear as well.

  30. Wow--really nice entry, very well written and very unique. I will follow you!


  31. I talked about this very thing on my post but also covered the opposite feeling, which seems to be flip-flopping. Great job. You really do a nice job on your entries. I love reading them.

  32. Good question, fear of still being stuck in editing hades a month from now. I'm so very keen to get my editing done and move onto a new project. ;-))

  33. I fear that my writing isn't good enough and people will think I'm a dummie.

  34. I think my fear is peculiar. I suffer from a severe form of migraines. So I fear that my brain won't retrieve the words I have formed and am trying to write down.
    I enjoyed reading your previous A-Z posts!

  35. Good post. fear is not very constructive and often times not based on reality. Blessings!

  36. I've definitely had those moments where I realise my story needs a total overhaul, and end up sitting there in despair, staring at the wall :P

    I've found wine helps :D

  37. Great post. I've had to fight off fear a lot, but I've gotten better at smacking it back to the abyss it belongs in. (For a few at least :P)

    My biggest fear is that I'll lose interest in my story for another one. I also fear that all my hard work will end up being futile. :/

  38. Hey Misha,
    First of all, very nice to see you are continuing on through the 'Alphabet Challenge' and thus you have reached 'F' :)
    Now then, I have no fear in regards to my writing. As you may remember, shy and humble me, writes with no pressure. In other words, I firstly write for me, if people like my writing on my rather unknown blog, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine, also.
    Take care Misha and 'G', what's next? :)

  39. Hi Misha! Thanks for stopping by my blog today:) Lovely post - it's something we definitely all experience in one form or another. Fear of criticism, fear of rejection, fear of failure and the list goes on and on. Good work!

  40. Fear holds me hostage sometimes and I feel like I can't break away. I'm going through something like that right now. I have not written a word on my story in weeks. This was something that I needed to hear today.

  41. I tend to fear what I write will suck (as I sit here delaying my G post).
    Thanks for humanizing the fear factor and offering a pep talk. I also appreciate the follow. I'm glad to join your pack.
    Keep singing.

  42. Mood, I used to be terrified of it. Now I've manage to tone it down to a niggle.

    Hahaha Christine, some of those singers are really deluded. I also get that fear in the back of my mind. But deep down I know that I can't be all that bad.

    Em that is a singularly accurate description! I also have to whack away at the fears every day.

    Whisper, fear can really get you in any aspect of our lives. I've the only way to deal with those fears you mentioned is to work through them. (I know this from experience. Opened a restaurant once.) Good luck with your ventures!

    Caitlin, I was terrified of the same things when I was writing my first draft, but I was sort of resigned to the facts because I couldn't go back and fix what I'd written. When I went back to it, I found some of the stuff was actually really good and that it was just a matter of adding to the foundation I'd laid. Good luck with drafting!

    Bish, I get that feeling too, but I think that's the easiest fear to handle, because every word I write makes that fear less likely.

    Yikes Melanie, I get those fears too. Because realistically speaking, there are so many words that have to be proofed, it takes one blink to miss something. Or the fact is that there are idiots in the world who won't appreciate the effort we put into every scene we write. I think I cope with it by knowing that I will do my utmost best to get rid of errors and that I can't change opinions of people I don't know.

    Oh Olive, we are. And the only way to shut those criticisms up is to keep going on.

    I have a chatty self-editor too, Alex. Good luck!

  43. Prairie, that's a good point you have. Fear does sharpen our instincts. But, too much of it can actually blunt them too, because we'd be focusing on the fear instead of the reality of what is going on.

    Rachel, I get that fear too. It's a bad one. Escpecially given that I have spent a significant portion of my life (one sixth) on writing it... And yes... I thought about Dory too. ^_^

    Good luck, Angela!

    Nate, succuming to fear is a scary thought. As is the thought of revolting adverbs. Hmmm... that was a nice pun, if I say so myself. ;-P

    Laura M, that's the fear that stays with me the most and there's nothing to do with it except to write and see if it comes true or not.

    Cherie, that's one I get too. I've never tried to write something of the scope I'm dealing with now, so that's also the one that slams my writing gears together the most.

    Andrea, it is definitely an up and down sort of thing. Good luck!

    Susan O, those thoughts scare me too. A lot.

  44. Laura J, I'll definitely head over to read it. It will be interesting to see our different approaches.

    Donna, I guarantee it will work if you write while saying it. ;-)

    Michael, I have to admit that that was part of my intention when I wrote it.

    I agree, Steph.

    Sarah, those fears are natural. I'm glad that I helped you to realize it. Good luck with your draft!

    Amarissa, I get that too. Just when my morale is at an all time low, some idea will spark and I'll get back to writing.

    M, I think it's those ideas that keep me from giving up in the dark times and doldrums.

    Golden, I got that one too, but then I realized that I can include pictures with every page and people will still get something else from what I thought. I can't bend people's thoughts to my own.

    Monti, that's a big one! Good luck!

    Nicole, no one can write your story better than you. If you weren't perfect for the story, you wouldn't have been given the idea to write. I believe that with every fibre of my being. We write what we are meant to write. Will definitely check out your post later.

    Thanks Jean! I'm glad you like it.

  45. Thanks Jeanne. I'm glad that you like my posts! I will definitely head over to see your take on flip-flopping.

    Talei, editing Hades sounds like a hell of a place to be. Hope you get out of there soon. ;-)

    Niki that is a bad one to have. I just try to come to terms with the fact that people will always have opinions - even those that I don't like. The most important thought to keep in mind that your opinion is the most important one. So if you like your story, you're already winning.

    Susan K, you have my sympathy. I get blinding headaches every now and then, but I don't think it's on the same level of pain as a migraine. Thanks for your lovely complement.

    Pebbles (not sure if I should use your real name) that is a good point. A lot of our fears start as a small incorrect thought in the back of our heads.

    Hahaha Trisha, I've tried the wine idea, but my words came out meaningless the next morning. ;-P

    Devin, good on you for putting fear in its place. I don't think I've ever feared the lost interest bit. Even when I lacked that spark, I never thought about deserting my idea. As for my hard work getting no where. Yah.. that one I get often.

    Gary, you're lucky that you get to avoid those fears. Even though I write for myself first, that knowledge that this story will be submitted one day is enough to start the flood of uncertainty. G is up already. :-)

    Thanks Lindsay! Yeah, those fears get to most of us at some time or another.

    Melissa. I know exactly what you mean. If you go check out posts from February (I think) you'll find a blow by blow account of me trapped in fear's clutches. I hope my post helped you out a little.

    Robyn, those fears get to me too, although not so much when I blog. I guess it's due to the way I approach blogging.

  46. Brilliant philosophy. I'm going to print this one out and hang it on my fridge (along with the piggie magnets).

  47. Thanks Cathy! I'm glad if my words inspired you in some way. Piggie magnets seem like the perfect companions for some reason that I can't begin to describe. ^_^

  48. So good post
    and I hope to visit my Blog STD Symptoms and see Pelvic Inflammatory
    thanks again Admin


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