Writer’s Block

Okay, so my problem isn’t exactly writer’s block. I mean, I have ideas for what to write, I know where the story is going, I even know what sentence should come next. The problem for me is the actual writing. For one reason or another, I can seem to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write the words floating around in my head. The best I can figure is that fear is keeping me from writing.

Afraid to write? Sounds pretty bizarre. But it’s true. I don’t know if it’s fear of failure, as in “What if this turns out to be complete garbage?” or fear of success, “What if it gets published and I have to navigate the promotional waters?” or something else entirely, but I know it’s fear.

Believe it or not, writing can be a scary thing sometimes. You wonder if anyone will like what you write even half as well as you. You know your words could impact someone’s life and you want to have a positive impact rather than a negative one. The thought of dealing with contracts and marketing at some point in the future is downright intimidating.

So what do you do? How do you get past that fear and write your story? To borrow Nike’s catchphrase, “Just do it.” Even if you know what you’re writing is bad and will have to be rewritten or deleted later, getting the words down is the important thing.

I’m sick of letting fear control my writing, even though it’s only been going on for two days. Today is the day I get back to writing, with or without the fear. During breaks or after work (or maybe both) I’ll be working on the story that has me completely stalled. I may have to rewrite everything I write today, but at least I’ll have written something. Letting fear keep me from writing will never get me published. As others wiser than me have said, the best way to guarantee you won’t get published is to not write.

Something else that goes along with that, also said by people wiser than me: If you submit your writing, you risk it getting rejected. If you never submit, you’ll never be rejected, but you’ll also never get published.

But fear of submission is a topic for another post. For now, I’ll concentrate on writing. If you’re like me and fear is holding your writing back, make today the day you break free of the fear. Even if what you write has nothing to do with your current WIP (work in progress), write something. Anything. Just to get past the fear of getting those words out of your head and onto paper (or computer screen). Then, once the words are flowing, even haltingly, pull out your WIP and add a couple of sentences to it. If just looking at that manuscript strikes fear in your heart, write anyway. Don’t let the fear control you. You control the fear.

Check back Thursday for an update on how well I followed my own advice.

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