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.

1 comment:

sallyjenkins said...

Thanks for this, Emma. It is good advice to take your critical head off during the first draft and not worry about the words at all. Allow yourself some congratulations on getting to the end of the story and then look back at things more critically.