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Are You A Fearful Writer. . .Don't BE!

"The fear of becoming a 'has-been' keeps some people from becoming anything." Eric Hoffer

"Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom." Marilyn Ferguson

Some of you may roll your eyes at those quotes, but fear is a real emotion for some writers. As writers, we have all these stories in our head, and sometimes those stories don’t make it on the page because of fear.

Does this sound familiar? Let’s look at a few fears that might be holding you back.

Fear of Inadequacy
Even I have a hard time with this one! Me? Moi? Yes! This , most-talkative, loves to pay it forward writer has this fear. I’m always questioning myself about THIS blog or my books. Even the blogs that get the most hits or the books that have sold out at book signings or bestsellers. A lot of “who wants to read this?” Or “what makes me an expert?”

Well…this amazes me because you are here, reading my blog and I have a lot of great readers who encourage me to write more. It only takes one comment to make me feel better and a little less fear.
You are a writer! You have something to say, whether it’s blogging or writing that great book. Call me! I’ll tell you how much you matter.

Fear You’re Too Old
Yeah, yeah. . .I have this one too. So maybe I’m not soooo old (ummm forties, but my kids think I’m ancient!), but I do wish I would’ve figured out my love for writing a little earlier in life.

Look at it this way, we get wiser with age. This will add depth to your writing and patience! Didn’t you know that patience really is a virtue in this business.

Fear of Too Much Research
Okay. This is very much a concern because details are so important in a novel. Trust me, if you get a color wrong on a 1948 Chevy truck because they didn’t make that color back then, those Chevy experts will come at you in troves!

LEARN to love to do the research. Make it fun. If you need that 1948 Chevy in your novel, you can take a day to visit a Chevy dealership or if you are near Illinois you can visit the Chevy Museum.
This is your novel. You should love learning about your characters and their environment. Step back and make it fun. My group of characters in Carpe Bead ‘em, had a spa weekend. Guess where I went for the weekend with a group of my girl friends? Yep! The spa, and had a Moor mud bath. . .ah. . . .

Fear of Revealing Too Much
There seems to be a lot of this question in the online social media age we write in. Do we reveal too much of ourselves on line or even in our novels?

A lot of readers ask me if I’m anything like the protagonists in my novels. Most the time there seems to be a hint, but for the most part my protag is pretty much her own. But it doesn’t mean that we aren’t baring our souls in each and every word we write. If we are digging that deep, which I know you are, you are going to really touch your readers!

Fear of Having Only One Book in You
This happens to me with each book, not just one! Somehow during the writing process or when I’m wrapping up edits, another book or story plots literally moves into my head, kicking out the previous characters.
You are a writer. You have several books in you and you need to realize it! Some of your stories might take longer to come out or for you to write them, but they are there just waiting to be written.

Fear of Rejection
Most of us fear being rejected. This fear alone can make you so scared that you won’t ever finish that novel. Rejection happens.

It’s such a subjective word. But you have to realize everyone is different. There are no two people alike. AND you can’t please everyone. If you believe in your work, your words, that is all that matters. Go into any bookstore or online, find the author’s website or read their story. At some point in their career they were rejected. Every. Single. One. But they kept going. They found someone who really liked their work. They never gave up and neither are you!
Remember that the difference between a winner and a loser. . .a winner NEVER gives up.

Fear of Success
What? Fear of success? I bet you are rolling your eyes again. . .yes! This is a real fear.

Success means that you are read, people love you, you have to produce more. These are enough to stop you in your tracks and stump your career before it begins.
You only have to take your career one step at a time. When you get to JK Rowling status, you can worry about success then.

How do you get over these fears?
Face them! Head on!

Writer’s Digest has a great article on TenWays to Harness Fear And Fuel Your Writing.

Kristen Lamb has a great blog on the fear of blogging, Here There Be Blog Trolls–How to Spot Them & What To Do where she discusses those nasty thoughts she calls TROLLS, and gives some great suggestions how to overcome those trolls.

Do you have any of these fears? How do you overcome them? We all want to know.


  1. Thanks for this inspirational post. I have had all these fears sometimes stacked on top of each other at times. This was great to read on another starting over morning.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! A while back, you posted a link to a youtube video about how bad do you want it... and I really appreciated that, also. I've watched again, just recently!

  3. Great post Tonya! Yes I think I have them all and I like to think of fear as the fuel that keeps me pushing forward--even if some days its only baby steps :)

  4. I've been writing for thirty years and I still agonize over every blog post.
    This morning I put up a parody of Goodnight Moon for Grandmas and I'm still worried about it. As Nike and Tonya say: just do it! Sure some people won't like it but a lot of others do. The best sentence in this blog was: it only takes one comment to make me feel better. Beautiful blog, Tonya. Thank you.

  5. I have a fear of success and a fear of of only having one book in me. I am working through it. One messy word at a time! Your blog is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Um ... I think I have a fear of all of these!!! But actually, I think fear of rejection and fear of success might be strongest. It's bad when no one reads your stuff. It might be worse when they do. What if they hate it??? There are so many writers I admire for just taking a deep breath and going for it - every time I read a new book, I'm motivated!!!

  7. I faced my fears as I read through this blog post. So here they are:

    Fear of Inadequacy – Um, yup, but thanks to and Charley R and Miriam Joy not so much anymore (even though I’ve always had my mom’s support, it’s just different when former strangers say something...)

    Fear You’re Too Old – Nope, never! Thanks to my grandmother, I’ve never felt that way. She did a career change at 60 and got her first tattoos at 65, and if cancer hadn’t finally gotten her, she would have learned to ride a motorcycle. Oh, but she did get back into dancing and performed in a recital at one point, oldest bird on the stage but she was having F.U.N.!

    Fear of Too Much Research – Only in that it often keeps me from the actual writing. I go to look up one thing and then spend all the time I had for writing reading all sorts of stuff that may or may not be applicable. Ha ha. :} (I do need to try horseback riding, for research you know ;} )

    Fear of Revealing Too Much – yeah, put that up there with the inadequacy. It’s lessened a lot now that I’ve found writers to hang out with.

    Fear of Having Only One Book in You – used to have it, I think... But all I have to do is look at writing folder on my hard drive. It’s stuffed with ideas I could turn into novel... For me it’s a fear of not having enough time to write them all!

    Fear of Rejection – yes, I’m working through this one and I’m finally at the point where I think I can mentally handle rejection, be it a slip form an agent or publisher, or a 1 star review.

    Fear of Success – make that big success, and yes it does scare me, but I’m not letting that stop me. I guess I’ll just hire all six of my six foot plus Uncles as body guards to protect me from the paparazzi, right? *giggles*

    :} Cathryn

  8. Kwana, I'm in the same boat! I have to pull out my own posts to remember to keep going. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. Tamara, don't you love that "how bad do you want it" video?? We watch it everyday. It's a great kick in the butt!

  10. Thank you, Consuelo. It's pushing the enter that kills us. I'm going to your blog now! I'm sure it's wonderful just like you.

  11. Hi, Jennifer. Those are two VERY valid fears. I totally get the more books. Somehow, somewhere we seem to get those new ideas.

  12. Diane! I love what you said, " every time I read a new book, I'm motivated!!!" Keep reading, you are doing GREAT.

  13. Horseback riding, tattooed grandmother, Uncles as body've got it covered, Cathryn! Thanks for the big smile today!

  14. great post. Yeh, I have the usual assortment of fears: that I won't be ready, that I can't complete it on time, that something external will interrupt my progress, etc.
    As I get older, my 'general' fears increase, too: more scared of getting injured (because I know it will take longer to heal), more frightened by idiotic drivers too busy talking & texting to concentrate on the road. Those kinds of worries.

  15. Tonya, very encouraging post! I used to think I only had one book in me. But as you said, new ones move in to replace the old!

  16. Jeff, we need to put you in a bubble;)) Just joking! You are doing fantastic! I love that you joined a grog and getting your name out there.

  17. Oh, Maria! Isn't that the best feeling? I love when those new characters drive into town (my head) and decide to tell me their story.

  18. The fear of writing something, and people reading it and thinking it's rubbish... I've had that SO many times, well every time I write something actually. It's a great reason to work at the craft of writing though.


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