There’s definitely a lot of fear involved with the process of writing and with wanting to share our writing with others. Who isn’t terrified by the act of hitting send on a manuscript that's going to a beta reader, an agent, an editor, or – worst of all – a family member? Who doesn’t drip with flop sweat at the mere idea of reading a first page in front of a crit group or pitching a story to an editor at a conference?
But what is it we're really afraid of? Fear or success?
Sometimes the fear of failure and the fear of success can be different sides of the same coin, but this isn't always the case. However both types of fears can lead to self-sabotaging behavior that keeps us from pursuing our writing dreams.
How can you figure out which one is holding you back? Well, let’s break them down by peeking inside the brains of two different writers....
Fear of failure writer
What if someone hates my writing? What if everyone hates my writing? What if I’m not good enough? What if everyone finds out I’m an impostor and have no clue what I’m doing? What if everyone else in the workshop writes way better than I do? What if Agent X thinks I’m a joke and laughs at my submission? What if my revisions are all wrong? What if my friend said she liked the book just because she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings? What if I can’t write another book as good as the first?
Fear of success writer
What if someone does like my writing? What will they ask of me? What will they expect of me? How will I be viewed differently? How will I have to change? What if I don’t want to change? What if I do change? Who will I be then? What if I don't like that person? What if people think I’m a snob? What if they think I’m a sell out? What if my friends can’t relate to me? What if my friends secretly hate me?
Do any of these sound like you? What tips to you have on facing your fears?