Monday, April 13, 2009

Calm Those Irrational Fears

Last week we talked about fears that creep up and paralyze our writing. Guess what? We don't have to put up with fear. We don't have to pay attention to the medley of irrational thoughts playing in our head.

I'm sure you've heard the saying "you have to face your fears." Writers, especially, should follow this advice. Left unchallenged, rotten thoughts will erode our confidence and stifle our talent.

Here are a few come-backs for specific fears.

Fear 1: "I'm never going to be able to write an entire novel. It would take me YEARS!"

Come-back 1: "I can write a novel--one word at a time. Plenty of people finish novels. Why should I be any different?"

Fear 2: "My writing is boring, and the grammar is amateurish. No one would ever want to read it."

Come-back 2: "I'm intelligent, and my writing is boring, full of amateurish grammar sections, I can fix it. I want to read my work, and that's all that matters right now."

Fear 3: "The editor I just submitted to is going to laugh at my query/synopsis/partial."

Come-back 3: "I've done my homework and put together a polished, thoughtful submission."

Fear 4: "It's going to take me a decade--no, a century!--to get published."

Come-back 4: "I have no idea how long it will take me to get published, but I will continue writing, submitting, and learning while I wait."

We all have fears. I deal with new ones on a regular basis. The key for me is to not let myself dwell on ridiculous fears. I talk back to them! It works!

Another way to lick fear is to talk to another writer about it. Writers are generous creatures and they always make me feel better. Some people just have a knack for saying the words I need to hear.

Fear also burrows in when I'm extra-stressed. Sometimes we're able to keep fear under control until we start a new manuscript, submit a project, find out someone we know just got "the call," or get another rejection letter. I try to keep that in mind when the same fear keeps rearing its ugly head.

We need to prevent fear from breeding by feeding our souls. I discussed this earlier in the year, but I think it's a good time to re-hash the concept. When we're overworked, overtired, and stressed out, our minds become susceptible to fears.

So take time for yourself. Do something that brings a smile to your face and a happy sigh to your heart. And don't feel guilty. You need this. do you deal with fears? Do you talk back to them? Call a friend? Dive into a slice of delicious cake? Take a walk? I'd love to hear from you.

Join me on Wednesday for a light discussion on setting limits.


Get Motivated! It's Monday!


  1. Great post, Jill!! I've been recently using the Scripture "whatever is pure, whatever is true, whatever is trustworth ... think on these things!" It's a great culinder for straining out the fears and retaining positivity. :)

    ... that I just refuse to write my synopsis! LOL

  2. talking back to your fears (or "self-talk" as we call it in counseling circles) is a GREAT way to overcome them! my heroine in my book right now often employs this method. :) great post...enjoyed it!

  3. i like your post on fears...very common to just about everyone! In fact i have yet to meet someone who does not possess a fear of some kind. I think writers, especially are prone to it..our imaginations can be great...but also detrimental!!! however, I usually find time to pray...and if it is God's will to be published...great...if not..its been a wonderful journey writing.
    Also, I find talking to other people and reading blogs helps too;)

  4. Thanks so much Jaime, Jeannie, and Amber for your thoughts. I, too, find prayer to be terrific for calming fears.

    And I'll be the first to admit to having a dramatic, grandiose inner life. It can be fun in that head of mine, but it can be scary too!

    Thanks again for stopping by!

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