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Afraid to Write Your Book? Do You Have Writing Terrors?

Close-up portrait of a young woman scared afraid and anxious biting her finger nails looking at camera with wide opened eyes isolated on a blue background. Human emotions

Feeling terrified about writing your book? Here are thoughts that might make you feel better about taking the leap.

If you are afraid to get your book out to the world, you are not alone. Take Maya Angelou, for example. Here is what she shared about fear of writing:

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou

And what is a writer’s greatest fear? The fear of people not liking what they write. In other words, many writers care more about what people think about their content than they what they think themselves about their content. I understand this fear because I feel this way sometimes too.

So, let’s turn to some of my favorite experts on insights into this very common situation. Take Jane Friedman, known to many as one of the top experts on writing today. Here is what she says about this powerful fear:

“It seems practical because we are not just writers; we are authors. It doesn’t matter whether you have published thirty New York Times best-selling novels or have just sat down to begin your memoir. If you have ever shared even one thing you have written with another person, you are an author. The moment you surrender this thing you wrote in the supreme privacy of your imagination to the unknown of another person’s mind, your relationship to your writing changes. You are no longer writing in your journal or diary.”

What can you do to gather up the courage to write? Here are some of the things I learned from others and found to work:

  1. Don’t go it alone. Find one or two thought leaders in the content or book writing space and sign up for their newsletters. Spend time with them. For me, I would check out Jane Friedman, Michael Hyatt, and, I hope, you will consider signing up for my newsletter too. After fifteen-plus years of working in the world of non-fiction writing with five major traditional publishers and now many self-publishing experts, my goal is always to offer the best of what I can find for you.
  2. Find at least one person who will be your coach. This could be a friend or a paid expert. I’ve spent thousands on writing coaches through the years. They have helped me let go of my fears and embrace my unique style of writing. (Note: that’s what each writer should be working toward–creating his or her own unique style. It’s that unique piece that sets you apart from everyone else and has people noticiing you in this crowded content world.
  3. Write, write . . . right? The best cure for writing terrors would be writing, not every week, but, if possible, every day, even for five minutes. Morning writing, for instance, even if you keep it up every day for just a week or two will change you. Just take the time, after you abandon your daily writing routine (if you do), to look at the evolution of your writing. You will see, as so many of my coaching clients have seen, that your writing does get better, daily, even in a short amount of time.

Most importantly, don’t give up trying. Writing connects you to your heart and you will discover things about you that will surprise you. For example, while writing a novel I’ve been working on called “The Billon Dollar Challenge” about ten people who get gifted $100 million to spend on “The Greater Good,” that the business plan in my real world I had been working on for months, all of a sudden, revealed a whole new strategy for growth. It was the freedom of the fiction writing that expanded my horizon of what was possible in the real world. Funny how those things happen. Try it. Start writing today! And if you wish, sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter today. Just go to the home page of my site . . . here. 

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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