You would be surprised at the number one reason people don’t ever get past that first page of their manuscript. Or even pick up a pen at all for that matter to start. Sure, you can excuse it as the publishing industry is too hard or too demanding. I mean, what chance do you really have with hundreds of manuscripts from others parading around? Better yet, how on earth would you find time when you have kids, a spouse, a full time job?
Then there are those who almost make it to the finish line but not quite. The excuses can range from overwhelmed to not knowing what to do next. But the matter-of-fact truth is…are you ready for it? FEAR.
THAT is the nastly little bully that has been prowling around you like a lion. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Maybe even fear of success and the responsibilities it holds. I feel like the closer you get to completion, the more you realize that your writing is about to be devoured to the mercy of the world. Trailing behind that realization…is FEAR.
So what do we do to conquer the culprit that will steal our writing endeavor? I’ve got a few ideas. Don’t worry though, if “conquer” is too much for you to commit to, never fear, you can learn to at least “manage” it as many authors have before you. So here’s some suggestions on how exactly to do that:
Write for one person.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by immediately thinking of an audience of thousands. Break it down to one. For example, focus on that one person you saw thumbing through a book at the bookstore the other day. A book is like a conversation. If you approached that person what would you say? Or better yet, it doesn’t have to be a stranger. The single person you write for could be you, a friend, or family member.
Begin with a small audience.
- When you’ve managed your fear over writing for a single person, grow your audience out slowly. No one said you had to have a hundred people right away following your blog. Starting out slow in your readership can help you become more confident in your writing and build your skills quietly. As your audience grows, confidence will replace fear.
Be motivated by learning.
- Yes, there are tons and tons of things to learn when it comes to writing and the industry. Probably, more that you could know in a lifetime. But don’t let that get to you. Take what knowledge you have and build on it. If you have none, that’s okay too. Just start. There are books, websites, classes, etc. on anything and everything you might want to know. Just be prepared to make mistakes and know that it’s really okay. Really. Learn from them. Improve. Move on. Everyone has been where you are at one time or the other.
Forget about perfection.
In another post of mine I stated that perfection is just an illusion. If you’re waiting for your writing to be perfect it will never happen. You change. People change. Be open to that and embrace what you have created in your writing as a footprint of where you were during that time. You don’t have to hit a homerun with every swing.
Realize you’re helping and let that motivate you.
- If you know that what you’re writing can truly help someone, it’s riskier to NOT publish. In just your own experience alone, think of how many books you’ve read that truly gave you life changing experiences. What if those authors would have been too fearful to move into the next step? What if they never allowed their writing out into the world?
Obviously, there are other things you can do to help with FEAR, but the point is to not get ahead of yourself. Keep in mind why you had the inspiration to begin writing in the first place. Keep hold of that no matter what failures or successes come your way and you’ll be just fine.