Fears can be one of the major reasons that hold aspiring writers back from succeeding in their creative endeavors. It is important to know about these fears and how to handle them.
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Outer and inner fears
There are basically two different types of fears.
One type is related to the outside world, that I want to call outer fears for simplicities sake. They are often related to friends, family or society as a whole.
Inner fears on the other hand, are all sorts of fears that come from inside of us. It is the fears of not being good enough, being too old, the fear of success and many other different forms.
As I said, outer fears are related to the world around us.
On one hand there is the fear that our friends and family will treat us differently, if we decide to be a writer. People often worry about disappointing their parents by going against their whish and deciding to choose a career in the arts.
Fear can also stem from the content of our work. When our ideas are controversial and go against established conventions, we are afraid how society and people are going to react to it.
Regarding family and friends:
When it comes to fears related to your family and friends, you need to talk to people. Approach the topic and make it clear to everyone, just how important writing is to you and that being a writer is your dream.
It is often the case that people aren’t mad at you or will condemn you for being a writer, but instead they are afraid what will happen to you. It is because of the general believe that the arts are not something you can earn money in. You have to show them that it is indeed possible to earn a living in it, especially nowadays. Show them that it doesn’t mean you will have to starve to death in the future.
Regarding controversial topics:
It is important to remember that we write about things that excite us or that cause an emotional response in us. These can be both, positive and negative. This means that writers not only write about the things that make them happy or that they wish to do, but also about the opposite. Just think about all the successful horror writers like H. P. Lovecraft or Stephen King. It doesn’t mean that they are tempted to do the things that happen in their stories. It is just that these ideas made them feel strongly in certain ways. The same goes for all sorts of other controversial topics.
First of all, don’t think too much about people or even society judging you. This will happen either way. When it comes to the people who are important to you though, talk to them. Make it clear to them that you are just writing a story that has a certain psychological effect on people and not about any deep sitting urges.
They are often connected to various misconceptions we believe in or us doubting our artistic abilities. We often don’t know where they are coming from.
When we for example are afraid to not be good enough to write a novel, this fear originates from doubt in our own abilities. Instead of being afraid and pushing the idea of writing a novel off, you have to realize that you are doubting yourself. If you not be good enough to write a novel, work on yourself and try get better. Fears are often an indication in what areas you need to improve. Make this clear to yourself.
What you have to do here, is to find out where this fear is exactly coming from, so you know what to do about the issue at hand. There are four steps I recommend going through.
1. Identify your fear
First of all you need to know exactly what it is you are afraid of. It is often the case that our fears are vague. We are afraid we won’t succeed with our novel, we can’t be writers or no one will read our work.
Sit down and try to really narrow things down. Why do you think you won’t be read? Are you afraid your stories are boring or unoriginal?
2. Find the fears origin
As a second step, identify exactly where the fear is coming from. Ask yourself why you think your stories are boring. Is it because the content? The general idea? The setting? Find out what exactly is causing you to have doubts in your story. Maybe it is not that your stories are boring per se, but it is the way you are writing them.
3. Make the truth clear to yourself
Once you have identified the reasons for your fear, make it absolutely clear to yourself. Take a deeper look at the issue. Why is your writing boring? Is it because you put in too many unnecessary exposition? Is your dialogue too trite or do you struggle building up suspense? Identify the exact reason or reasons.
It is often the case that we have a feeling that our stories are bad or not working, but we never look deep enough into it.
4. Take action
Once you have identified where your fears and doubts come from, you should start to take action. You were afraid no one reads your stories. You realized it is because you think they are rather boring. Now you found out it is because you aren’t able to build up suspense. The obvious action you should take now, is to learn about how to build up suspense. After that, start working on improving your writing.
Now of course many issues are tougher to handle then the above example, but identifying where your fears come from can really help. It is not seldom the case that our fears and our doubts result from certain issues that can be fixed.
So if you experience doubts or are afraid of certain things, take some time to think about them. Go through the above four steps and see if you can figure out what exactly the problem is.
Now this article is just a general overview and the suggested solutions are more of an overall nature. I think though, that even pointing people into the right direction can help them. As I mentioned above, always talk to people and try to find out the exact cause for your fears. This can already be a big step forward.