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Writing through the fear

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Writers Wise

Sharon Thompson


Writing should not make writers fearful. However, I have found myself afraid these days of placing anything I write up online. My submissions are left to my agent, as I am not good at pressing ‘send’.


There’s a tendency to worry about commas, punctuation and grammar. Glorious prose does not fall from my finger-tips. People probably have a good snort at the structure of my sentences. Self-doubt does invade me and it makes the whole process ‘icky’. Should I care? I shouldn’t. But, I do. (Is there a need for a comma after but in that sentence?) 

Then, there’s the over-sharing worry. We are asked a lot about our writing lives, our lives in general and I worry that I go on and on about myself. (Like now).

You mention the slightest thing and someone takes ‘the hump’ with it. Some stranger reads what they want into the sentence and they then run a muck, saying all sorts. Do you try to defend your opinion? Is there any point?

All of this extra writing takes away from the actually manuscript. Is this a good thing? Maybe it is. The guilt can be crippling though. The questioning, the procrastinating, the loving of my work in progress and not wanting to destroy it. Arghhhhh….it is all so hard, isn’t it?

I like being funny. But nothing seems funny when I write it these days. My manuscripts are dark historical fiction. I see everywhere too that I must stay ‘on brand’. I’m not sure where I got that notion from. Saw it online some place. Japers, if I stay ‘on brand’ I’ll be stuck in a 1950s whorehouse forever more.

Political correctness and offending people. Am I being kind and respectful of everyone? How is that even possible? What topics are taboo and what ones aren’t? What if I feck-up big time when just writing a simple blog-post about fear?

I shouldn’t be writing, unless I get paid for it. This one totally has thrown me. I know the ideal is to get wads of cash daily for writing work. However, the gods presiding over my life don’t seem to follow that ideal. I long for a time when I am paid for all of my writing. I manifest this in mindfulness chants and visualisations regularly. It will be a happy day when my dreams come true. Until then, I have to write and I might not get paid for it. 

Approaching other writers to talk to my writing group makes me nervous. I’ve started an online writing group indulgeinwriting.com. It is going great, but I have to bite the bullet and ask writers to speak to me/us. Believe it or not, asking them to do this takes guts. I admire these busy, successful writers. Taking a deep breath and asking them for their time and expertise isn’t easy. I have wonderfully supportive people on the group and the writers I ask to be involved, nearly always say yes. There should be no fear about it – but there is. By the by, If anyone would like to do a guest-blog, author interview or join the group please get in touch. I don’t bite and will answer your query with kindness. @sharontwriter on twitter or indulgeinwriting.com

It’s August, most people are on holidays, yet I expect emails and replies. The people I worry about not replying, simply might not be working. Yet, I constantly check my email inbox! This has stopped. Now, I’m just afraid that I’m missing replies!

Writing events and speaking in public, does not come easy to many writers. Saying yes to these events almost brings me out in hives. There is a whole article in itself in this topic, the fear of being asked, or worse of not being asked! Waiting on emails about being asked. What will I say? Will I have anything of value to add to an event? What if someone hated my book and tells me to my face? What if I curse? Or what if I reveal l am afraid of it all? I fear the microphone and talking about myself (yet again) – there must be a word for that?

I’m not getting through my ‘to be read pile’. There’s an increasing guilty fear in me when I look at the pile of books by my desk and bed. I love the new books sitting waiting on me, but I am not attending to them as I should. Another black mark for me, against ….myself! The feedback I said would flow from me, is stuck somewhere in the midst of sunshine and slurps of coffee.

Social media fears. Did I retweet, like, comment on all of the posts I should see – even though I am not online to see them? I use dashes and I read somewhere other writers hate them. I should stop using dashes. Am I doing enough to build my presence online? Should I spend more or less time scrolling and supporting others? Should I post about my book again and sicken everyone with the link to purchase, for the 1,000 time? Have people unfollowed me? Why? If I unfollow people is that very rude? It can become that ‘sad’ if we let it. There definitely must be a word for fear of social media? Google tells me it is Visiobibliophobia. I do usually find social media fun and I need to keep it that way. No more fear allowed.

Have I written enough words? The optimum word count also makes me fearful. Are there too many words, not enough? I’m leaving this piece here and I AM NOT worrying about every word and point. I am cleansed of the fear. I am free of the writing fear, I tell you. Totally free of ….. I will press publish. I will.

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