Monday, 30 May 2011

The Seven Big Fears: Not Being Good Enough

In the last blog post I explored the common fear of rejection that afflicts most writers and can, in many instances, prevent a writer from continuing. In this blog I explore the fear that what you produce may simply not be good enough.

This sort of fear of inadequacy does not just afflict writers, most of us as humans suffer some sort of low self-esteem in an area of our lives. It is the part of us that makes us humble and modest but it can become crippling when the fear is so overpowering it prevents us from actually producing what we fear will be inferior in the first place.

You are a Normal Human
I think in tackling a fear of inadequacy you first need to realise that your fear is more than likely not actually related to the writing you are producing. It is actually a normal human fear that can be applied to every part of our lives from relationships to the day job. Most likely the reason it is so prevalent in your writing is because it is one of the most personal aspects to your life and probably, as a result, the area in which you feel most vulnerable to criticism.

Write for Yourself
If it is this fear of some sort of judgement or criticism that is making writing difficult then write as if you are only writing for yourself. Some writing books do advise you write with your audience in mind but if doing this is actually proving counter-productive because you fear their judgement then writing for only yourself makes more sense. It is at the editing stage and once all the initial words are on the page that you can put your critical head on.

No Such Thing as Perfection
There will always be aspects in your writing that might make you cringe a little or wish you could do better but writing without that sort of humanity would be dull. Self-criticism is important but try as much as possible to put it on a shelf during the first draft, it is during the editing process that you can bring it back out again and make your piece shine.

Above everything else remember why you write in the first place.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Seven Big Fears: Rejection

Rejection is the writer's enemy and a number one fear and it is an unavoidable one, even the most experienced and successful writers suffer rejections. Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before being published and Agatha Christie did not get published for four years.

Rejection is unfortunately part of being a writer and, although it does get easier, it still gives a pang of pain when the rejection slip arrives but there are methods to help you tackle what can be a debilitating worry.

1. Don't take it personally- a piece can be rejected for numerous reasons and it is not necessarily due to the quality of the work. It may be that a similar piece has already been accepted. If the rejection does give any feedback this is valuable and worth considering.

2. Once you have submitted a piece get working on the next- otherwise you may feel you have everything invested in the one you have submitted.

3. Try not to send too many submissions out at once- no matter how confident you are it can be crushing if you are unlucky enough to have a lot of rejections land within a week.

Most importantly accept that rejection will happen, once you accept this it should help you worry about it less and realise it is nothing personal. Never let a fear of rejection stop you from writing.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Seven Big Fears

Money, time and competition are just some of the obstacles would-be writers have to overcome in order to make any sort of progress in their writing career but the most debilitating aspect is usually the writer themselves.

'Your Writing Coach' by Jurgen Wolff also makes this point stating that the number one obstacle on your road to success is you. It's a hard opening statement but one that is often ignored in a world of numerous creative writing course and writing guides. There are huge parts of becoming a successful writer that are somewhat beyond our control, such as market fluctuations and whether a prospective publisher is in a good mood the day he reads your manuscript, but what we write and they way we write it are not.

Jurgen Wolff explains in Chapter One that the obstacles we give ourselves stem from a fears which he calls The Seven Big Fears:

  • The fear of rejection

  • The fear that it won't be good enough

  • The fear of success

  • The fear of revealing too much

  • The fear that you have only one book in you

  • The fear that you're too old

  • The fear of being overwhelmed by research

Do you recognise some of them in you? I was immediately able to identify with three of them. All writers encounter fears at some point, we would not be human if we did not, but what is important is how we overcome them and not allow them to hinder what we do.

I will be doing seven follow-up blogs on this exploring each of the fears and how they effect writers as well as how they can be overcome.

'Your Writing Coach' by Jurgen Wolff is now available to buy on Amazon.