Every writer, whether they are big or small, experienced or newbie, published or unpublished, old or young, face the same fears and feel jittered before putting their work in front of the public (books, articles or any other content.)
What are these fears? What are the reasons that demotivate writers from writing? And finally, how to get over them and come out as a winner and go ahead with writing?
If you’re looking for answers to these questions then go ahead and read.
10 Things That Are stopping You From Writing:
Self-doubt is nothing but a state of mind, just like confidence. But its one that can either stop you from growing or completely destroy you.
Everyone, at some point or the other, experiences the bitter taste of self-doubt, but the people who get over it are the ones who do not let it stop them from doing what they really want to do. By doing this they defeat self-doubt hands down.
Self-doubt is a plague that destroys your confidence and affects you in more ways than one. But don’t worry, if you’re going through a phase of self-doubt, then you are anything but alone. All you need to do get a grip on your thoughts, be positive and believe in yourself and your work.
“The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt.”
– Sylvia Plath
#2 Trying to do everything at the same time
This reason has plagued me for years and years. I can’t even remember a time where I haven’t faced this particular problem while starting with a new project (an article, essay, poem and even a book.) Whether it’s be writing or any other field, I always start a project and try to do everything at the same time, without realising that it is actually getting me nowhere.
Finally, after trying out almost all the things, I’ve learned to tackle this problem just by doing one thing – PLANNING. A little planning before actually starting a project can take you a really, really long way. It’ll keep you focused and won’t let minor distractions or changes take over your mind completely.
Simply chalk out a small plan before you actually begin writing rather then diving into a project headfirst. You can either plan it mentally or note down a few points on a post-it (like me.)
Try and do this for your next project and you’ll see how easy it gets to focus.
This is one of the reasons that people who prioritise perfectionism over anything else, even completion of a project, face a big problems when it comes to completing a project. I understand the need for writing a perfect article, or an essay or a book, but what good it is if you can’t get it done on time?
I’m in no way saying that perfection is not needed or that it is not important. It is, but you should always know what are your priorities. If you’ve been given an assignment or you are writing something with a deadline, then of course, your priority is to meet the deadline, not to have an incomplete but perfectly written piece.
Try writing the entire piece first and then once it’s completed keep on editing it till you get what’s perfect for you. How does that sound? It’s so much easier than trying to write perfectly in the first go.
Secondly, even if an article has been edited several times and you are still not confident that it’s “perfect” then I’d advice you to just go with it. I mean, I don’t think that you can ever write a “perfect” piece, there always something that can be changed or added. At the end what looks perfect to you might not even be even close to perfect for me, or vice versa.
So, make writing your priority and not something that will stop you from doing it.
“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.”
– Emily Giffin
#4 Fear of being judged
This is probably the most pathetic one! Do you care about what your cat will think about your written piece, or dog or you laptop itself? No, you don’t, right? Then why the hell do you care about what others are thinking? I mean seriously, for me, as a writer, nothing is more important than my laptop and husband, and these two never judge me, so why the hell should I care about the rest of the unimportant people!?
It’s plain enough, if you give a shit about others, then stop writing, cause the only person you should be writing in the first place is YOU, yourself and not your neighbours, or your distant cousin o not even your parents. So get your head in the right place and start writing without worrying about something as trivial as opinion of people who judge you.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t give a damn about suggestions and advices from people you trust, no, all I’m saying is don’t listen to the people who are just judging you, even if they are someone close to you.
“No one has it all figured out, especially not the people who are acting like they do and judging you because of it. Pretending to be something you aren’t because you’re trying to please a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and shitheads is not the way to be happy.”
– Tucker Max
Let’s face it, who doesn’t procrastinate? Every human being on this planet procrastinates simply because we get easily distracted by something more easy or fun, like napping, watching that episode of your not-so-favourite-series, a kitten walking on the road or simply sitting and thinking about all the great things in life that will change the world. Ha! Silly, right? Well, these are some of the many silly things we do when we have something really, really important at our hands.
Get this, when i am really pressed for writing or completing a piece, I simply shut down my MacBook and sleep. Crazy? Well, that’s how I am, it’s the ultimate form of procrastination and more often than not I do it by opening multiple tabs and surfing the “internet,” as in nothing in particular.
So far the only thing I’ve found useful to not procrastinate my writing is to work offline. Yes, that has solved 90% of my problem, the rest, well, taking a nap once in a while is not that bad, but now I just make sure to set a target and sleep only after completing it. and viola… it works beautifully. Try it and see if going offline works for you. I’m very sure it will work.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb
#6 Not having a plan
Panting is great, but only if you are a true pantster. A lot of people who claim to be pantster don’t even know what it really means. No, being lazy and not setting up a plan is not pant-sing. You really need to understand the concept before you self acclaim to be a pantster (I’m not going deep in this subject here, but may be in some other post.)
Take out a few minutes before starting up a project and create a small plan. If you can remember it, good for you, but if not then make a small bullet-point list and jot down how are you going to go about your project at hand. And then patiently follow it, improvising along the way.
Proper planning will actually make your work easy and fun. You can divide the whole project in parts and take it from there one by one. It always works.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
#7 Fear of failure
Who is not afraid of failing? I’ve never met a single person in my life who is just not afraid of failing. It’s good to have a tiny bit of fear, it keeps us grounded and makes us push ourselves to do better. But if this fear grows into something that is stopping your from writing, then it’s really harmful.
You do not want to be scared just thinking about the possibility of failing, I mean, if you won’t even finish your project, just how the hell will you ever know for sure? You never know if you would have succeeded or not. So stop assuming and start writing. Worry about it after submitting or publishing the work. But don’t confuse it with overconfidence. Experiencing every emotion in moderation is healthy, just don’t go overboard with any particular emotion and take the back seat.
“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
– Suzy Kassem
#8 Not setting up a deadline
If you are not given a deadline then make one up for yourself and STICK to it. You need to figure out your own system and set deadlines accordingly. after all we are all different. I usually give myself enough time to complete a project in time and that too by not over-stressing.
Trust me when I say that setting up a deadline and planning ahead are the only things that made me successfully complete my novel (from scratch) in 4 months. It also helped me tremendously in NaNo and JuNo. So, the next time you have a project in your hand, set an easily approachable deadline and give this method a go.
“A hammer made of deadlines is the surest tool for crushing writer’s block.”
– Ryan Lilly
#9 Fearing the enormity of your project
Your project is huge, I get that and I also understand that it’s important to you, but stop and sit down for a second, take a deep breath and relax. It is not the end of the world! If looking at the enormity of your project is scarring you then try and see it as a sum of it’s parts. There, that will make it a little easier for you to go ahead.
Don’t look at the first blank page and think about it as a completed book on a shelf in a negative way, it is okay to imagine the same thing in a positive way, but only if it motivates you. But more often than now it scares us. So better to not think about it. Take it one page at a time. or even, one paragraph at a time.
That’s why so many people, including me, follow the Snowflake Method of writing (by Randy Ingermanson.) It concentrates on writing a single line, then a para, then a page and then a chapter. So you see, it actually makes you concentrate on the main things while not worrying about the project as a whole.
“Fear is an idea-crippling, experience-crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself.”
– Stephani Melish
#10 High expectations
Now this is a tricky one. Expecting a good outcome is basic human nature. If you’ve put in your soul into something, you will definitely get what you deserve and also what you want.
Having said that, sometime, before even completing the project at hand we get lost thinking about the results, expecting something far more greater than normal and instead of working hard to achieve it, we still remain absorbed in dreaming and expecting, completely ignoring the project itself.
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
– Alexander Pope
These are the ten things that, in some way the other, are stopping you from writing.
So, what are you waiting for? Get rid of all these things and WRITE!
Now make a basic plan, set a deadline, concentrate on individual parts of your project, believe in yourself, be confident, get over your fear, ditch putting off work for later and don’t expect big (atleast not to the point of turning you off) and you’ll be writing like there’s no tomorrow.
Remember, if you really want to do something, you definitely can!
What are your ways of coping up with the fears and emotions listed above? Do you have anything else to add to this list? If yes, then feel free to share it with me. I love reading all your comments.
Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.
The quotes have been taken from Goodreads.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.