If you’re aiming for success in the writing sphere, there’s a good chance you’ve learned more about anxiety than you ever dreamed possible. Whether you’re facing the criticism of clients, the rejection of publishers, or even the misunderstanding of your friends and family, it’s a writer’s destiny to constantly fend off the unwanted judgment of others.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to learn to grow from your stress, instead of crumbling beneath the pressure time and time again? Here are some tips to make that dream a reality by evolving your anxiety into progress. We’ll discuss 4 common fears faced by writers around the world, and learn how to conquer them once and for all.
Fear #1: Will I be able to meet the word count on time?
Whether you’re a first-time freelancer or a seasoned novelist, word counts are the bane of all writers. Nothing kills inspiration faster than the relentless pressure to meet a word count—and that’s before you throw a deadline into the mix. It’s easy to see why countless writers around the world are plagued by the gnawing fear of not being able to finish their masterpiece.
When you obsess over the number of words you’ve poured onto the page, your writing suffers. When all else fails, the best thing you can do for yourself is ignore the word count completely.
If you’re struggling to meet your quota, my best advice is to disable the word count feature entirely and write for an hour, uninterrupted. Now, the worst possible outcome is that you end up going over your target. If this happens, simply trim down your project later. You’ll probably find that dwelling on the numbers is holding back your creativity more than anything else.
Fear #2: Will my friends and family laugh at my story?
Will anyone ever take time out of their busy day to read your story? If they do, will they immediately burst into hysterical laughter and say it’s the worst thing they ever read? When your anxiety gets out of control, it’s easy to imagine yourself as a court jester at the mercy of all your friends and family. However, this fear is almost always a result of your anxiety taking over.
Remember, your loved ones care about your success. Even if your novel is so bad that it makes Twilight seem like the greatest literary work of our time (which is highly unlikely), your friends probably aren’t seasoned literary critics. The odds are, they’ll appreciate your work simply because it was written by someone they care about. If you’re especially worried about their judgment, simply ask your loved ones to be gentle-but-honest when providing feedback.
Fear #3: Will I run out of inspiration before I reach the end?
Most writers run into rough patches every now and then, especially when taking on a massive endeavor like writing a novel. However, worrying about running out of inspiration is similar to dwelling on a word count: the more you obsess over it, the more likely it is to drag you down. Instead of ruminating over your word count incessantly, here are some more productive ways to get the ideas flowing:
- Go for a long walk outside
- Read back through your old material and reflect on your progress
- Listen to your favorite music
- Read success stories from other writers
- Browse artwork that resonates with your vision
- Join a writers’ group
Of course, there are countless other ways to open the floodgates of creativity. What works best for you may not have even made it onto the list. But as long you aren’t sitting around obsessing over running out of inspiration, you’re probably on the right track.
Fear #4: Will my life’s work be rejected?
It doesn’t matter if you’re querying a full-length novel, or submitting a 500-word blog post: the fear of rejection will always be lingering right around the corner–until you learn to live with it. There’s always going to be people who don’t appreciate your work. But for every agent who thinks your novel is doomed to fail and wouldn’t touch it if it was the last book on Earth, there’s probably another one who thinks it’s awesome.
If you go into writing thinking that you’re going to please everyone, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Instead, you should focus your efforts on tailoring your work to an appropriate audience. Researching suitable agents and publications is essential before you plan to submit any story, and mastering this process is the key to success for many writers. Submitting your work to the right audience can be the difference between cold rejection and global success.
Master the Art of Dismantling Your Fears.
Although we’ve only scratched the surface of the countless fears that haunt writers around the world, these 4 are by far the most common. By learning to identify and deconstruct your greatest anxieties, you’ll be able to reach your full potential as a writer. In time, if you learn to master the art of dismantling your fears, you may even find that your worries have melted away completely and been replaced by the confidence you deserve.