Fight the Fear: 5 Steps

A friend recently asked me this question: Is it normal for writers to think their own work is never good enough?

My Answer

OMG, yes! I don't know of a single GOOD writer who finishes a manuscript and thinks, "Wow. This is fantastic." We are all creatures of insecurity.

I've been published by 5 different publishers including my French publisher, and I still doubt everything I write. I've got more than a million books in print floating around the planet, and I don't know how many ebook sales, and I still feel that way. I can finish a chapter and be satisfied with it. Overnight I get this gnawing anxiety. The next morning when I sit at the computer, I know what I wrote the day before is pure crap.

When I finish a book, it's so hard to just click the PUBLISH button. That's the way it used to be when I sent a finished manuscript to my editor. I'm was always convinced it was terrible, and that it would never sell.

Not Just Me

Guess what? It's not just me who thinks this way. I personally know enough "household name" authors who feel the same way!

I think we sometimes just get to the point of "oh, hell, just publish the damn thing and move on" stage. Otherwise, there would never be any books published. *LOL*

The oddest thing is that the people who brag about how good their books are--and I don't mean some kind of marketing statement or obvious promotion statement--but an honest to God conviction that their writing is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Those people are the ones whose books are crap!!!

I think you have to tread the fine line of perfectionism, knowing that your work will never be what you want it to be in your eyes, and the reality that it really is good enough to publish.

Emotion Married to Fear

Feeling insecure about your writing, feeling a lack of confidence--that's emotion and fear bound together. You will find no joy with your writing career if you are controlled by emotion and fear.

Instead, one must learn to intellectualize about the writing. That's using your conscious brain to work for you rather than against you. Doing this will help muffle the little editor inside you who screams, "You and your writing suck."

5 Tips to Fight the Fear

1. Accept that there will be a certain amount of fear, but work to keep it at a manageable level.

2. Instead of doubting and being depressed by every sentence that you see as inferior when compared to others, cut yourself a break.

Say: I am a good writer. I love my work. I've written, published, and sold books. Readers like my books. I've successfully written before, and I will this time. Say it. Write it. Think it. Internalize it until it is your first response when the going gets tough.

3. Become conscious of your self-defeating thoughts so that you can DEFEAT them.

With each of the above affirmative sentences, you'll find the evil person inside you refuting them. For every negative thought that crops up, immediately replace it with a positive message. That's how to fight the fear and win.

Make your positive messages to yourself a mantra and say it as many times as you need so you keep moving forward.

4. Accept the truth that any writing is hard if done properly.

Quit thinking it's easy. An accounting job is hard if done properly, so is a legal case, a nine-to-five clerical job, or any other worthwhile demanding job.

5. Relationships are important.

Don't lose sight of the people in your life because you're so obsessed with writing successfully. Being a writing workaholic is as rewarding as being any kind of workaholic--you may get a lot of work done, but are you happy? Take time to live your real life, and it will pay rewards in your writing life.

Takeaway Truth

Repeat after me. "I am a good writer. I deserve to succeed."

1 comment:

  1. helpful tips to share
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