The mere act of being a writer comes with many inherent fears. When I was younger it was all fun and games – Sunday afternoons spent writing, school lessons spent writing. I initially studied creative writing at university simply because it was something that I enjoyed doing and something I was kind of good at. Then as the years passed I realised that writing isn’t just something that I enjoy doing but something that I need to do, something that I ultimately want to make a living out of.
So what are my greatest fears as a writer? There are many but here are the main two:
Ah, yes, the big one. What if my writing just isn’t good enough? What if my peers think it is good but on a more professional, wider, level it just doesn’t cut it? What if it really does just suck?
I think the fear of failure is the reason why I’ve talked myself out of entering competitions or hounding publishers. Sometimes I find myself taking constructive criticisms a little too personally. I need to grow out of this. After all, isn’t writing re-writing?
So how am I combating this inherent writely fear of failure? Well I’ve already submitted one of my stories to the Write Anything Form and Genre Challenge and it felt so good just to put myself out there. I’ve had some great feedback. Before I submitted it I showed it to some very good and very honest writer friends who convinced me it was good enough to put out there. And when I did put it out there I had great feedback from my fellow competitors. I’m going to submit further entries, I am.
I’m also going to join a local writing group. I feel reading my work out and being in a room of complete strangers is just what I need – my way of biting the bullet. It’ll also give me some much needed confidence in reading my work out loud. So far I’ve read one of my stories out in front of a university end of year party. I sat amongst the crowd, bright red with my head down, despite the few glasses of wine I’d downed. I want to be able to stand in front of a room of people and be confident enough in my characters and my words to be able to say them aloud and let those people enjoy them too. I want to drop the fear of failure and stamp on it. After all, in the first instance I write for myself and no one else.
I worry that one day I’ll wake up and it’ll all be gone. I won’t be able to form a remotely creative sentence. I worry that one day I’ll wake up and there will just be silence where there once was the chatter of characters.
As some of you may know, I’ve struggled to put pen to paper over the past year or so. But I’ve always had ideas. I’ve just lacked the confidence to put pen to paper and develop them. Recently I’ve realised that if I don’t jot these ideas down, no matter how stupid and small they may be, then they probably will just stop flowing and perhaps there will just be the dreaded silence.
I think the fear of silence has subconsciously encouraged me to write more. Certainly, my production levels have been through the roof since this time last year and, as a result, I feel much more confident in my abilities as a writer, in my abilities to see things through until the very end. So I’m going to continue with this somewhat positive attitude. I’m determined to keep the dreaded silence at bay.
So there are my main writing fears. What are yours?