Happy Monday, SE Readers. Joan here today. This post is directed more toward beginning writers, although many of us can relate to the subject matter.
If you read Craig’s post last week, he shared a bit about how he came to be a writer later in life. Like him, I waited a long time to fulfill my dream of becoming a published author even though I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten years old.
What stopped me? Fear.
Fear of sharing my work with others. Fear that I would never be good enough. Fear that people won’t like what I write. If someone rejects my work, does that make me a failure?
Fear can cripple us and stifle our creativity. But once I took that first step, which was more like a leap of faith, my fears began to diminish. And when I finally became a published author, I knew I wanted to do things to help and encourage others. I realize there are some out there who want to write, but like I once was are afraid to take the plunge.
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” (Dale Carnegie)
I’ll be the first to admit that my fears didn’t magically disappear when my first article appeared on a group blog. Nor did they go away when I submitted a short story to a publisher. New questions and doubt arose. “Are you sure this is what you want to do? Are you ready to open up a new world and leave your comfort zone?”
“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” (Charles Stanley)
My first published works were non-fiction, but my deepest desire was to write fiction. And with that brought another fear—the fear of finishing. It took too many years (yes years) for me to write and publish my first novel. And when I uploaded my first novella to Amazon, I was shaking when I hit the publish button.
But, to quote Nike, the only way to stop fear is to “Just do it.”
As with any endeavor, part of becoming a writer is to take risks. We have to leave behind the safety net and step out into the unknown. A few years ago, friend and fellow author, Chris Morris, said, “The cost of holding on to my art is greater than the cost of sharing it.”
If you are a new writer, or a want-to-be writer, consider these words:
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” (Henry Ford)
For those of you who have been in this writing world for a while, I’d love to hear about some of your fears. Tell us how you overcame them. Let’s encourage an up and coming writer today.
And if you’re a new writer who is afraid to take the next step, what’s stopping you?