All of us have fears. For those who dream of writing, the actual process of putting words on paper or on the screen are intimidating. Yet, studies show that if you want to overcome your fear–you need to face it. So here are five tips to overcoming your fears:
1. Face your fear–If you can’t name what part of the writing process keeps you from writing that first word, that’s okay. But, be honest with yourself–if you’re afraid to write, you’re afraid to write. Most writers deal with this kind of fear.
2. Set a timer for 1 – 5 minutes and free write. It doesn’t matter if you have all the right punctuation or the write words or the correct grammar. Just write. When the bell rings, put your writing away. Increase your time in 1-5 increments each week or two.
3. Commit to writing. Make a schedule. Write every Tuesday at 9 a.m. or write every night at midnight. But the point is make a commitment and stick to it. Granted, you may say that you want to write everyday, but I suggest making your goal smaller. A possible start could be writing once a week for five minutes.
4. Feel the anxiety. It will go away once you’re writing. It’s like that first dive off of the diving board. You just gotta do it, but once you hit the water (or the page for that matter) you’ll be amazed at the words that flow out of your fingers.
5. Start small–don’t make your goals so big that you quit after the first try or that you don’t even get started. Instead of saying, “I’m going to finish my novel by next April,” try saying to yourself, “I’m going to start writing for one minute every day and move up to five minutes within the next month.”
Then, see what you do–you may increase or decrease your time–but at least you’ll get started. Also, I’ve read where some writing experts encourage newbies to start a blog. But I suggest that you keep your writing private until you start writing on a regular basis. Also, whatever you post stays “out there” forever. So, think ahead that if you don’t want a potential editor, agent, or publisher to see your ramblings, it’s best to keep that beginning stuff private.
Finally, studies have shown that exposure to our phobias, fears, etc. help us manage them much better. You may always feel a type of “performance anxiety” when you sit down to your keyboard. But once you get into a routine and grow, the fear starts to dissipate. Try it and you’ll see.