Annie On Writing

September 13, 2008

Fear and writing Part 1

Fear has been said to stand for False Expectations Appearing Real – however – for the person in the grips of this emotion, it is difficult to logically speak to them about expectations and reality. Fear can be one of the main ingredients to writers block or reluctance and left unaddressed, leads to writers paralysis and creative death.

I went into a blind panic this afternoon, completely driven by fear and ego. I will relate this personal story– not to talk myself up or show off – but if by reading it, you think of times or situations in your writing life that you have felt or said the same things, then perhaps, I can offer you some tools to escape that negativity and blockages based around fear.

This afternoon, my co-writer of Reclaim Sex after Birth – Jodi Cleghorn and I were interviewed by best selling author Armin Brott (Mr Dad) from on his weekly podcast radio show to chat about our book. I’d been a bit oblivious to who he was when we agreed to be interviewed.

Fear hadn’t taken grip on me till I pulled his website up and started to listen to some of the other interviews he had conducted, so that I could get a feel for his questioning style. That deep dark sick feeling of self doubt, the ugly voices and feeling of low self worth reared their very real heads, taunting me.

Fortunately I have many tools at hand – sadly I don’t use these all the time – but for this situation I realized my fear was not serving me and asked myself a bunch of questions to better equip myself for the interview. For this particular event, I realized that my fear was all ego based. I was fearful that I would sound stupid, that Armin would believe that I was unworthy of his show or that the things I had written was rubbish. When I removed my ego – the meanings I placed upon the event – and looked at it in a different way – my fear dissolved. I released that Armin had asked us. He has read the book and has made contact several times about the interview. I realized that the message is more important than the messenger – its not about me – its about the message. I am still somewhat challenged by the message that Jodi and I have written and those ugly voices niggle at me asking what place I have in carrying this message – what right do I have in publishing it? There again – its fear driven – ultimately my subconscious trying to protect me.

One of the exercises I used was to identify my predominant fear, and then to write the answers to these three questions. I thought I’d share it with my readers – perhaps this may help you with one of your fears – be it in writing or in your life (which will in turn affect your writing in some way)
Firstly – be precise with describing this fear – when does it strike – how does it make you feel – what is the main thing going on in your self talk – that chatter of fear?
1. How does this fear hold me back in life?
2. How does this fear help me? How has it helped me in the past? Does it serve me right now in the situation I am facing right now?
3. What would be my payoff for eliminating this fear? Is it more painful to keep this fear based belief – or to let it go and accept a new belief about the event or situation?
Its useful for acknowledge that the fear was based in self preservation – even if in a warped way. Our subconscious works in a fight or flight mode with many of these things.

Remember – The future belongs to the risk takers, not the security seekers – this is especially true for writing. You can choose to write mechanically or in the safe zone, or socially acceptable things ( which is in itself fine – bills need to be paid and its easier to publish in the future if you are already an ‘old hand’) or you can choose to step out of that comfort zone and write ‘dangerously’ – things that are not your usual genre or style or subject area. Who knows, you may find your niche, you may like it and you might like to stay out there!

My next post will address fear and writing specifically…


1 Comment »

  1. Thanks! This was so helpful and I’m looking forward to your next post.
    I’m just starting out and not sure where I’m going…feeling vulnerable…
    I’m glad I’m not alone with my silly fears and thanks for the encouragement to take risks!
    Happy blogging,


    Comment by Jonie — September 13, 2008 @ 3:58 pm | Reply

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