You may think the answer is “no.” Think again. Fear can remain hidden and affect your decisions without you realizing it.
If you’re struggling to get your writing business going, fear might be the problem.
In this post, I discuss some of the symptoms of underlying fears we writers face. I’ll also list some common fears writers have. Finally, I provide some tips to help you deal with your writing fears.
Types of Fears Writers Face
If you struggle with fear as a writer, you’re not the only one. Most writers have to deal with fear at some point in their writing career. Other professionals deal with fear as well.
Here are some of the common fears that writers have to deal with:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of confrontation
- Fear of rejection
When Fear Is the Problem
Could fear be the reason that you struggle as a writer? If you’re not sure, let’s look at common writing problems that could be the result of fear:
- Procrastination. Do you constantly put off writing tasks or other tasks related to your writing business? It’s only natural to delay dealing with what you fear. Manage your fear and you should be able to control your procrastination.
- Perfectionism. Self-editing your work is good, but at some point you have to let it go. Are you always unhappy with what you write? Do you judge your own writing too harshly? You could be dealing with a fear of failure.
- Writer’s block. In some cases, writers block is actually a reaction to fear. You can’t come up with new ideas because you’re too worried about embarrassment or rejection. If you put your fears aside, the ideas may flow.
- Negative self-talk. Can you come up with a dozen reasons why you aren’t where you should be in your writing career? Do you feel you’re always lacking in some area? Are you more of a pessimist than an optimist? (Hint: We pessimists often think of ourselves as being realists.) If you often make excuses for why you can’t apply for a gig or pitch a publication, your fears may be getting the best of you.
It’s easy to let fear limit you without even realizing it. Fortunately, fear can usually be overcome.
I’m far from a mental health professional and this post is not mental health advice. If you suspect your fear is due to a mental health problem, please see a professional.
If your fears are not mental health related, recognizing them may help you to overcome them.
Here are some actions you can take:
- If you are afraid of failure, take special note of your successes. Keep a success journal and pull it out when you think you’ve failed. Remind yourself that failure is often temporary.
- If you fear embarrassment, remember that everyone makes mistakes from time to time. You aren’t the first person who has a made a mistake and you won’t be the last.
- If you fear confrontation, consider the number of times you’ve confronted a client or colleague. I bet the number is small. Most people are reasonable if you deal with them honestly and courteously.
- Rejection is part of being a writer. I don’t know any writers who have never been rejected at least once. That doesn’t mean it’s fun. It just happens. Even the best writers get rejected.
I’ve found it helps if you have a strong support group. Find a group of other writers who will understand what you’re going through. Personally, I like the folks at About Writing Squared. It’s harder to join because they have a waiting list, but The Freelancer’s Writer’s Den (affiliate link, I receive a small fee for memberships purchased.) is also a good place to find support from other writers.
I’ve faced fear as a writer and dealt with it. Maybe you have too.
Has fear affected your freelance writing? Tell us how you dealt with it in the comments.