Sunday, November 22, 2009


Writers must be brave. We must. Polls generally claim that people’s main fears are rejection and public speaking. Writers are required to face the former of the two.
Rejection is something I dread. I have yet to find a writer who does not harbor the secret notion that there may be an awful moment in the lives when they are exposed as a fraud, a fool or a fiend. And what is perhaps most disturbing is that this is not an irrational fear.
It is very likely, in fact, it is highly probably that if you or I submit a piece of writing to be published it will be rejected. Even if we strike gold as a writer and publish we risk facing a scathing review.
So I wonder how professional writers do it. How do they overcome the fear?
This is crucial information for fear hinders my writing more than anything else. I know there will be a day that I have to face rejection, not just criticism or constructive feedback but wholesale rejection. That scares me.
Worst of all, I suspect that I sometimes sabotage my own chances of success just so I won’t have to face such a mortifying day. I do not want to be a coward. Here are some of my musings on overcoming my fears:
  1. I must face the good and the bad of who I am as a writer. I cannot live in a delusional world that claims everything I do and write is good. It is not. Neither can I hinder myself with negative self-talk and self-fulfilling prophesies of doom.
  2. I must continue to write in the face of the worst anxiety and fear. I must grit my teeth and remind myself that I can do this. This is the time I usually seek out those words of comfort and truth that bring such life to my heart. The blogging community has totally transformed this aspect of my writing.
  3. I must not give to much credence to excessive praise or excessive criticism, gleaning what is helpful and leaving the rest. My value does not lie in the estimation of others and for that I am grateful.
So lets do something brave this week, let’s write! And please let me know: How do you deal with fear? How do you help others to deal with it?


  1. When I get it all figured out, I'll let you know!

    I love this quote from Frank Laubach: "Every minute can be a fresh beginning."

    That helps me a lot. My whole life is about the fresh beginning God gives me all the time.

  2. This probably isn't the perfect answer but I just write for myself. If I have an audience that happens to like what I write then that's just an added bonus. Now, I don't view myself as much of a writer so perhaps I haven't developed (yet) the fear that a lot of writers seem to have...

    I have recently found a lot of freedom in writing and I hope I never forget how this freedom feels when I write from my heart.

  3. Kate, your #3 is pretty damn perceptive...excessive praise is to be wary of!

    Like you, I have found my writing experience transformed by blogging and the fear I used to have of being a fraud is far less present now. I caution myself against comparisons, and try to avoid striving for perfection. If I start chasing that, then I am just giving in to my fear that I'm not really good enough as I am. (Having said that, I do edit almost obsessively!)

    And after re-reading this post, I will say that #1 and #2 are pretty damn perceptive too! I always like what you have to say.

  4. First and foremost: nice post, I can so relate to it.

    Second: how do I deal with fear? I don't. I just let it be and do what I must. It can't stop me. Well, usually it can't. When it becomes too much I tell myself it's okay to take it easy, sit back, relax and try again. But generally speaking I let fear have no say at all. It is my life, my mind, my body, and I am in charge. So even if I'm trembling with it, even when there's a knot in my stomach, even when I feel it weakened me; I do what I must. Persist, persevere.

    And you know what, it works. Because the more I ignore my fear, the more success I find. Rejection I found also, but it turned out to be not so horrible after all.

    Nice blog, I'm subscribing.

    Oh, and great Brontë quote you've got there. I borrowed it for my blog as well. So applicable.

  5. Cassandra: What a wonderful quote. I love it! Thank you for sharing.

    Shattered: I too cherish that feeling of freedom, it is exhilarating!

    Deborah: As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I totally agree that blogging is transformative. Also, I concur with your warnings against comparisons...they are poisonous. As for being perceptive, I wish I could claim that as true but I fear I gained the knowledge through repeated error rather than keen observation. I should also attribute any wisdom to writing companions (like yourself) who have helped me along the way. Thank you for your comments!

    Josephine: I am so glad you commented. First of all, I appreciate and endorse your words about persistence and perseverance. Second, I was able to discover your wonderful blog which I enjoy greatly:) I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.