Overcoming The Fear Of Writing

Overcoming the fear of writing | moranchaim.com

Fear of writing can be divided into two groups. The paralyzing fear you have before you even start to write while your mind is telling you: I’m boring, I’m not original, nobody will like it, It is pointless, I have nothing to write, I can’t write, I suck  as a writer.

The second destructive force is what is known as The Writer’s Block, which is the same thing that happens to you when you’re not immersed in your story enough and you don’t know your characters well. You tell yourself:  I’m boring, I’m not original, nobody will like it, It is pointless, I have nothing to write, I can’t write, I suck  as a writer.

Fear of writing can be narrowed down to one naked truth. It is everything that keeps you away from finishing your draft.

There are many blogs that attack this problem by trying to reverse engineer the fear and psychoanalyze the source of it, but the truth is that being aware isn’t going to solve the problem and get you going.

What is the opposite of fear? Is it courage, as many movies and stories tell us? Well, courage can be useful for a single timed task when a leap of faith is needed. But as for the never ending process of writing and rewriting,

I’ve found that the most effective opposite of fear is love.

Love will keep you going in sickness and in health because when you love doing something it is not a job anymore, it’s a passion. It is not difficult but rather challenging, it is not something you have to do but something you wait for, and it is something you put your heart into instead of over thinking and reaching nowhere near the first draft.

How do you fall in love with writing?

Consider a romantic relationship. What words can you attribute to that feeling? Fun, excitement, new experiences, self discovery, mutual goals, shared dreams, caring, lust, passion, etc. What happen when you write? You sit in front or your computer, on a chair, in a room or a café, and you type on a plastic keyboard. It doesn’t sound much like a love to me. It sounds more like your day job. How can you go on an emotional journey with your characters if you sit and type like a white collar monkey?

I discovered that the best way to write a story is being in the story, is by embodying the journey yourself, is by walking and moving and even, yes even going back to writing with pen and paper. You stimulate your senses and create creative energy.

Falling in love with writing can keep you going and bring back the fun in the process. Just like that time in high school when you wrote poems in your notebook without the fear of reaching a daily word count, a deadline or an artistic level.

In this blog I’ll share my discoveries while writing my first novel and searching for a way to love writing once again.

About the Author

Moran Chaim

16 Comments

Alan

Well said! I need to fall in love with writing, with my characters, with my story, all over again! And . . . how did you know about the poems I wrote in my notebook in high school?! 😉

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Lisa Daniels

Good post. One way of overcoming the fear of writing is to “turn on the faucet” by writing for 15 minutes from a daily writing prompt. I have used Judy Reeves “A Writer’s Book of Days” for years. I do mine long-hand printing in a notebook. I set the timer. You can do anything for 15 minutes, right? It’s fun and gets the juices flowing.
The other thing I have to say and most people will probably disagree is that I believe “writers block” is a myth. Do we get a “block” about anything else we do? If you’re not writing, you’re are on some level choosing not to write. Accept that choice. Don’t beat yourself up. Do something else for a while like take a walk or knit.

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Moran Chaim

Hi Lisa, I think we do get stuck sometimes but it just means that we don’t know our story or characters well enough.

Sometimes in real life you stand in a cross road, not knowing which decision to make. Usually it’s a conflict between the logical head and the emotional heart. Usually you know what you should do but just afraid to do it so you try to get as much information as you can and a lot of affirmation from friends and family.

Same goes for your writing. If you truly know your character you’d know in which direction he/she will go, But you’re afraid of letting go of a story line that will never be told or a scene you love that will not make it into the final draft. There’s this saying “Kill your darlings” but you can always keep the second story line or scene in a different file and use it later if you change your mind of even for a future story or a different character.

I’ve found that being in the emotional state of the character in the scene can improve your ability to write that character’s behavior. I wrote about it here: http://www.moranchaim.com/writing-methods/embodying-your-characters-emotions/

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Taylor R

Thank you for this!

I have been struggling with this exact crushing fear a lot lately, and I’ve been really unsure how to go about combating it. This is a fresh look on a real problem, and I’m looking forward to trying it out for myself.

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Moran Chaim

Hi Taylor, let me know how it goes. So far it’s been like a smooth ride for me but I expect trouble later on. I’ll write more about it when I encounter difficulties.

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Rebecca

Great post. Never thought of writing quite like how you referenced, “a romantic relationship,” “love will keep you going.” I’m going to try and view it like that.

Also, for all those who suffer from writer’s block. I find it helpful to leave my current surroundings where I am tied to the day-to-day routine. I go to a coffee shop, get away from the computer and as Moran advises go back to paper and pen. To many times when I use the computer I feel that I have to be perfect, as spell check corrects my words immediately, it doesn’t give me much freedom to just explore the writing and my imagination.
Good luck all on your writing.

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Joy

Thank You! I’ve been struggling with my novel, trying to figure out the details of my storyline, even though I know my protagonist and plot. I’ve been taking a break from my writing, lately. This article might help.

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Samm Short

Absolutely! And I’ve also found listening to music can help me get inside the other world – for example I wanted to write about the American southern states, trailer parks and white trash, sultry heat and cut off jean shorts – so I put on Lana Del Ray and found I could write for hours where previously I hadn’t know where to start…

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Moran Chaim

Hi Samm, you’re right. It’s a really good stimulation because you block outside noises and focus on a beat or a melody that generates an atmosphere. I also use music to write in a specific tone when I need to write a hard scene that conveys strong emotion.

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Trystan Martell

Thank you, Moran, I needed to read this article so much. After planning the whole thing for 3 months and getting two different chances yo finish my project, today was my deadline and I couldn’t finish on time. It was just a contest. Yes, “just” a contest I was extremely excited about, and that meant a lot to me. I had plenty of time to write, and yet I chose to leave everything to the last week, so that when I finally started working hard, I didn’t finish. I was divided in too many many things to organize myself better. And yet, I could have organized everything better had I not unconsciously sabotaged myself because I was terrified of the contest to start with. It’s amazing how the mind works. Thanks to you I can no longer hide in the strategies I use to sabotage myself. I am a young writer, and I never thought this craft would be so incredibly difficult and at the same time, so beautiful.

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Moran Chaim

Thank you for sharing Trystan. Contests are stressful indeed. My trick is to enter a contest only if I already have a worthy piece of writing ready. I just polish and edit it for the contest so I don’t feel too stressed. My advice is to write on your spare time and only submit the stuff you’re proud of and rewrote enough times before. This way you’ll be able to send your material long before the deadline. Good luck!

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Lesley Ward

You can always write about writers block itself. This leads to any amount of rambling thoughts which could be the seeds of a story, play or poem. The possibilities are limitless. I recommend that pen and paper wherever you go is the best way.

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