Survey: What is the nature of your fear of writing beast?

From our survey choices below, please copy and paste as many points as applicable into the Comments section of this post. Feel free to elaborate on your choice(s).

If we haven’t pin-pointed your particular brand of writer’s block or fear of writing, please add to our list with your specific predicament.

Thank you for participating!

Excuse me while I chomp your self-esteem

Excuse me while I chomp your self-esteem

What is the biggest factor in your fear of writing?

– The savage and critical voice in my head

– A humiliating experience that knocked the confidence out of me

– I’m surrounded by dream killers

– I’m surrounded by indifference

– I’ve got plenty of supporters but I don’t believe in myself

– I don’t believe in myself. Period.

– I have such high expectations on myself, it tends to stop me from even trying (in case I fail)

– The idea of writing feels fun, but when I start to write it feels like _________

– When I can finally get myself to stop procrastinating and actually sit down to write, I don’t know where to start

– I’m not sure where my fear comes from; I just know my mind goes blank whenever I try to write

– I don’t have fear of writing (can’t see what all the fuss is about)

– Other (please specify)

15 Responses to Survey: What is the nature of your fear of writing beast?
  1. Julia
    Twitter: wordsxo
    September 2, 2011 | 5:35 AM

    Here goes, Milli…and so it begins at 5:30 a.m…..my fears of writing…

    * The savage and critical voice in my head >> DEFINITELY

    * I’m surrounded by dream killers >> I wouldn’t say “surrounded,” but I made the mistake of sharing book ideas with my mother and my aunt (at different points) and each immediately discounted the ideas and told me countless reasons they would fail. I try to never share my specific ideas with very many if any people.

    * I’m surrounded by indifference >> Only in that I have few writer friends. My immediate family is VERY supportive; friends either curious or “yeah, so have you published yet?” That’s why I turn to the online writing community so much

    – I’ve got plenty of supporters but I don’t believe in myself >> Yes, online supporters/writer friends are incredibly supportive. As is my husband and kids. Me? I don’t believe I’ve got what it takes.

    – I don’t believe in myself. Period. >> I wouldn’t go this far. Fiction, maybe. Nonfiction, I am very confident I can do.

    – The idea of writing feels fun, but when I start to write it feels like _________ >> I’m a fraud. “Who do I think I am?”

  2. Tricia
    Twitter: Tricia_Sutton
    September 2, 2011 | 1:04 PM

    – Other (please specify)
    I feel inadequate (all it takes is one really good book to discourage me, to tell me I’ll never write like that [I need to stay away from Barbara Kingsolver and Ian McEwan. They set the bar too high])
    Alternatively, if I read a poorly written book, I get inspired again. Sheesh.

    I fear I’ll have nothing left to write if my first one doesn’t get off the ground (like published).

    But maybe it all boils down to your first on the list: – The savage and critical voice in my head

  3. Lois
    September 2, 2011 | 6:46 PM

    – I don’t have fear of writing (can’t see what all the fuss is about)

    LOL I know you know this already, but my fear is a fear of success. What will I do once I have a story published? Will I have to live up to expectations that are too high?

    And I guess I fear editing, too…mostly because I don’t know that I can actually do it.

    Lois

  4. Estrella Azul
    September 3, 2011 | 9:37 AM

    Even though I don’t have a fear of writing, not in a bad way, the savage and critical voice in my head has something to do with things from time to time with my over-editing. I’m working on that though and it’s coming along nicely 🙂

    Also, I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by dream killers and indifference, since all my writer friends are online and quite a few miles and oceans away from me… Non-writer friends just don’t really ‘get it’.

  5. Franny
    September 5, 2011 | 11:29 AM

    Oh dear, where to start!

    – The savage and critical voice in my head, I think I write childishly and not really well!

    – I was surrounded by dream killers, my parents, when I was younger but some of the negativity is still with me!

    – I’ve got plenty of supporters but I don’t believe in myself. I think most of the times that I might have nice ideas but I don’t know if I can deliver them in a good way or deliver them at all!
    Maybe this is connected with my will to write in English rather than Italian, which is my native language and I feel so so bad about that sometimes! In particular when people who never moved from Italy or anyway who don’t live in an English speaking country like me, can correct the errors I make writing!!! It seems that all my efforts are wasted and I’m not good after all!
    🙁

  6. Lisa Carter
    September 6, 2011 | 10:06 AM

    Excellent survey, Milli!

    I must admit I had to think about this for a while and it was still hard to pinpoint exactly what my fear of writing is. My reasons are all related to the ones above, but with a slight twist.

    – I actually think I can do this thing called writing if I am patient with myself and accept that it will take time to grow and get better, but I’m afraid I’m simply deluding myself. Maybe I really can’t?!

    – I’m also daunted by how long the road in front of me is.

    Reading through the other comments, it’s quite amazing to see all of the things that keep each of us from writing. Thank goodness there’s a site like this and the work you do to keep us buoyed and moving forward! 😉

  7. j
    September 7, 2011 | 8:50 PM

    Wow. Reading through these comments just made me want to… I guess thank Milli for setting up a place where writers can be this honest.

    I doubt my abilities all the time. I tell myself that if I didn’t, it would mean I was playing it safe, sticking to what I know I can do. I believe that – writing to the edges is scary business and we’re bound to feel out of control much of the time.

    But even though I truly believe, heart and soul, what I just wrote… I wish I could write without that nagging voice that says, “maybe you’re not good enough.”

  8. Jenna
    September 13, 2011 | 9:33 PM

    The savage and critical voice in my head. – It’s a constant drone of “You stink. This story sucks. Your editor won’t even know where to start with your creative sentence structure. This story has been done to death (that’s a big one). These character names are so over done. No one will buy this.” etc

    It goes on and on.

    Luckily I have a lot of supportive friends and family. They definitely do not add to my self-doubt. I also decided to self-publish which removes a big worry. I have never written a query letter and don’t fear daily rejections.

    It’s all me. All the roadblocks come from me. I even have two novellas released that are getting nice feedback. Still – the negative voice lurks…

    ~ Jenna

  9. JM Merchant
    Twitter: jmmerchant86
    September 15, 2011 | 9:27 AM

    O boy, what a can of worms you’ve opened here Milli 🙂

    – I have such high expectations on myself, it tends to stop me from even trying (in case I fail) – One of my biggest writing influences since I was a teenager was Sarah Waters. She’s been such a huge advocate for Lesbian Interest fiction over the last decade, but there is still so little of it out there, and I want to fill that gap with my writing. I have dreams of reviews calling me “the next Sarah Waters” but the chances of that happening are infinitesimal if not non-existant! And so kicks in…

    – The savage and critical voice in my head – And she’s a real bitch sometimes!

    – I’m surrounded by indifference – I think a lot of us need to feel vindicated as writers. That’s one of the reasons I started blogging, in the hope I’d get more feedback. But though the stats tell me I have readers, no-one comments, so I still don’t know if I’m doing things right.

    – A humiliating experience that knocked the confidence out of me – As a teenager, I used to write voraciously, mostly episodes of TV series and films. I even sent 2 episodes off, but of course never heard back from them (looking back at them, they were pretty abysmal!). But the piece I was most proud of was a play. I showed it to my dad, and he was pretty indifferent about it. He told me well done for completing it, but that was about all. 
I told him I was going to write another play, and he asked “Is it about lesbians?”. When I told him yes this look passed across his face and he told me to stop throwing my sexuality in the worlds face. Since then I’ve never had the confidence to show him any of my work. My aunt is extremely supportive of what I write, but I don’t want to get that response from him again.
He’s being extremely supportive of the novel I’m writing; he took me to the Greenwich Maritime Museum earlier this year and bought me several books on the navy and life at sea for research, but I don’t know if he’s aware that yes, this is another lesbian interest story, although it’s not the main theme. I want him to be proud of me for writing at all, and I don’t want him to disapprove of this book, but I need to accept that he may never get passed that.
    On top of that, I’ve recently started finding out how unsupportive the publishing world is of such fiction, going as far as editors “asking” authors to “straighten” gay characters and even removing gay elements between copy-edits without informing the author. It’s scary to know that’s the sort of world I’m working towards at the moment.

    • JM Merchant
      Twitter: jmmerchant86
      September 15, 2011 | 9:28 AM

      Wow! That turned into quite an essay! Sorry!
      Jo x

  10. Kim
    November 10, 2011 | 9:44 PM

    Fear of Rejection, that no one will like my finished product. i know that we can’t please everyone all the time.

  11. Shella
    November 18, 2011 | 1:19 AM

    Kim, that is exactly my same reason too!

  12. Karen Ann
    April 14, 2012 | 1:30 PM

    I feel like if I start something then I have to finish it the same day.

  13. Ramakrishna "Cram" Chavali
    April 29, 2012 | 6:48 AM

    When I can finally get myself to stop procrastinating and actually sit down to write, I don’t know where to start
    The idea of writing feels fun, but when I start to write it feels like I am forcing myself to do it.
    I have seen the book ideas and I have seen the finished books but never watched anyone at a close distance starting with the idea going all the way up to completing the book. I don’t know how to divide the project into small tasks. It’s like not having the route map to the destination.
    Fear of making fool of myself. At a conscious level I am aware the world in my story is my own creation and it doesn’t have to follow any rules of the real world. But i’m terrified at the thought of getting caught not knowing something trivial.
    My favorite fear is that when the book or story is published I may be offending my friends or family members or someone might sue me for exposing their lives. Luckily I have the fear of not having the roadmap so I won’t be completing the story or book for this fear to kick in.

  14. John
    May 5, 2012 | 6:21 PM

    I do doubt my writing abilities at times. I know that I can write a novel but I question myself if I will be able to write a creative novel, that is worth reading. I really don’t feel that I have a fear of writing. My fear is centered around failing to meet my own expectations. Sometimes, I think I have a case of plain old fashion laziness. Sometimes it is just a lack of motivation, and making writing my priority over other life’s activities. I am lucky to have a great support system, family and friends. I do not want to let them down.

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