Woe-is-me! Fear can be a creative killer like no other. Amazing ideas can come with surprising fears. Have you asked yourself why you are afraid of posting your thoughts or writing pieces?
How many times have you created a piece of writing, and in the end, fear takes over? Questions and thoughts pop into your head like, what if my mom sees this? Is my overly opinionated friend going to call me out on social media? If I write about my plant-based diet idea, will I be able to eat my mushroom swiss cheeseburger still? Making this change in writing style will probably be too hard and time-consuming. This is new to me, so maybe I shouldn’t.
Let’s take a step back and a deep breath. These questions and concerns stem from fear. Our brains are wired to avoid what scares us, but we don’t have to be afraid of our decisions when it comes to creativity. We do need to know how to work with it.
Our brain tells us when to be fearful and when to dismiss something that looks scary but isn’t. Our brain also tells us to avoid uncertainty, even if we aren’t talking about walking into a bear’s den. Other than the fight or flight response from evil things chasing us, Brendon Burchard says that there are three types of fear: loss fear, process fear, and outcome fear.
I want to briefly go over what these are, from a writer’s point of view.
Fear of losing something
These really hit home with me, how about you?
We have all been hindered by fear, and there are times when it gets the better of us. What I’ve learned is that fear will always be there to some degree, but we shouldn’t allow it to have complete control over what we create. Writers have a fantastic imagination and capacity to communicate to an audience, and the audience is hungry. Below are seven ways to kick fear to the curb so you can create what you want.
1. Embrace your fear by creating two lists:
List One: Write down all the negative things that could happen if you go forward with your writing. Write down your responses in detail. Write down how it will feel if you don’t go ahead with your writing.
Knowing how the negatives will play out will cut through the fear.
List Two: Write the positives of what you will have when you’ve met your writing goal. Get detailed with this as well. What emotions will follow, and how will this change your day today?
2. Our auto-pilot gets stuck on no, so turn that off and start saying yes. Spend time with friends, make a habit of saying yes to invites or even be the person to do the inviting. Building healthy relationships can help our mental state feel empowered. Being with those that are different than can be very stimulating and can teach us how to handle diversity and opinions that aren’t our own. There’s a good chance the conversations will give you new ideas and insights. When you are feeling the flow of life from multiple perspectives, you often have the mindset to overcome fears and move forward with your writing goals.
3. Create an environment where you can be yourself and have support moving forward with your writing goals. When you surround yourself with people who are moving in a different direction than you, you will probably move with that group and away from your goal. Find people to surround yourself with whom you can voice your ideas without fear of backlash. You can have your cheerleading section and swap ideas for future inspiration.
4. Acknowledge that you are always and forever in a learning state. When your inner dialogue starts slamming you for not being an expert or knowledgable, you need to shut that down ASAP. Be humble and kind to yourself. Reinforce the thoughts that you’re a lifer in the learning department, and your writing is at its best, given the knowledge and information you have at that moment. Opening your mind to always allow for learning is essential and needed to become a well-rounded writer. The more you learn, the more confidence you will have. With most writing, you don’t have to be an expert before your work is loved.
5. When you create something, remember that you are in control of who sees it along with when and how they see it. If you have crazy fear about what others think of your writing, show someone you trust first, and ask for an honest opinion. If that’s not an option, write under a pen name and put it out there for feedback.
6. March right up to the beast and swing. After you have made it your best, i.e., professional editing, go forward with your writing goal, and create a learning moment for yourself. Publish your piece, show it to friends, and sit back and wait for the aftermath. It could be good, it may be bad, but if you never put yourself out there, you will never know what lies beyond, and you won’t be able to grow. I’m talking about ripping the band-aid off and pump yourself up to learn and grow from the experience.
7. Remember the quote “Failure is not an option” from the Apollo 13 movie? It doesn’t mean you can never fail. It means you need to continue trying until you succeed. Giving up is the failure. The more you learn, the closer you get to your goal. When you write, write to be the best. This means to write, rewrite, edit, edit more, rework, repeat. Your writing is worth going the distance. The more you prepare and work it, the less fear you will have of writing it.