Fear seems to be a common currency among writers. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, and yes, even fear of success. That fear can paralyze us and prevent us from taking the necessary steps to put us closer to reaching our goals.
It can hold us back from contacting a prospect, sending in our proposal, or finishing that self-marketing website. And it can also keep us from writing.
I once heard someone say that FEAR stands for “Forget Everything and Run!”
Doubts creep in. You wonder if you are really a writer or will ever really be one. When that kind of fear grabs you and takes hold, it seems there is little that you can do to shake its grip. Or can you? Are there ways to overcome fear as a writer?
I want to share a few principles that will make fear your friend and keep it from becoming your foe.
1. Face your fear
Open a new file on your computer, or get a piece of paper and define what your problem is in detail. Don’t leave anything out. Write down the worst that you think can happen if the fear persists. There is something about getting the problem down in black and white that strips it of some of its power.
2. Overcome pressure from others
This often manifests when other people tell us that “we can’t” or “we won’t” be able to accomplish the goals that we have set. Suddenly, their lack of faith impacts our own belief in ourselves.
Try to surround yourself with people who believe in you and will support your dream, instead of criticizing it. I have met many such people through AWAI. Most of them, I don’t talk to but connect with via email and social media outlets.
I regularly read e-newsletters from organizations that support writers, as it gives me a daily and weekly boost. I also attend writing conferences where I can meet those who can be a positive influence.
3. Shift your perspective
Haddon Robinson, author, seminary president, and communication consultant, once said, “In any situation, what you are determines what you see; what you see determines what you do.”
That’s good advice. Change what you are looking at and what you are focusing on. Some time ago, a friend of mine was driving in downtown Delray Beach, Florida. He had his cell phone sitting on the seat next to him. For some unknown reason, it slid off to the floor. He reached down to get it while still driving.
When he looked up, it was too late to stop, so he plowed into the rear bumper of the car in front of him. That moment of distracted driving caused an accident, along with increased insurance premiums and a traffic citation. The lesson? Look at where you are going, and don’t be distracted by what is happening around you.
It’s important that you focus on where you want to go and not the obstacles, too. Put blinders on, and keep an eye on what you want rather than what you have now.
4. Get proactive
Remember that movement creates momentum, which is much easier to steer than it is to start. So don’t wait; begin taking some kind of action today. Start moving in the direction of your goals and continue to use these ways to overcome fear as a writer.