Sunday Style: Writing Fears

The last workshop in the series Bob Mayer taught at the Bellevue Library was an introduction to one of his longer workshops, the Warrior Writer. It’s a weekend-long workshop, so he only skimmed the surface in the two-hour session this week, but it was still a presentation that left me thinking.

One of the components he covers in the Warrior Writer is Courage which he defines as: The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.

“Can I get you a side of courage to go with your writing career?” It sounds easy and appealing, right? Courage isn’t as easy when I consider the fears that I, and other writers, have. Bob provided a list of common “writer fears”:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of starting
  • Fear of finishing
  • Fear of revealing too much about ourselves
  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of making the wrong decision
  • Fear of having hit one’s peak
  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of the business
  • Fear of having regrets

That’s a hefty list, and unfortunately I think if I had identify all fears that I’ve felt at some point, there wouldn’t be too many I’d leave off the list. But somehow, reading them on paper and hearing about them in a workshop taught by a published author made me feel better. Made me feel normal.

And, fear not! Bob provided some great tips on overcoming fear:

  1. Acknowledge the fear exists
  2. Fear of criticism? Someone isn’t going to like what you write. So what?!
  3. Open and honest communication reduces anxiety and fear (I know this is where my online writing group is a huge help to me…it’s a spot where I can openly share my anxiety and just doing that often helps get me out of a fear-based rut.)
  4. Living with fear is ultimately worse than confronting it.
  5. Take action.

Thankfully just as I am familiar with the list of fears, I’ve also used many of these techniques in facing writing (or other) fears. But it often takes a lot of time to work up the courage to confront those fears. This list is a powerful reminder of how taking action, confronting and communicating about fear leads to good things.

Now go forth and face those fears, writers. I’m right behind you.

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