Anytime you are producing anything creatively, you can almost always expect some negative reviews. Being a writer, in particular, you can also expect a lot of rejection. It’s just the way it is. There are a whole lot of us and since writing of any nature is extremely subjective, you have to learn to roll with the punches. Fear, as a writer is extremely common, even for the most successful writers out there.
Have I literally cried after a piece of writing I worked on for hours and hours has been rejected? You betcha. Was that same piece of writing eventually accepted by another publication? Yes. Is that always the case? No. Again – writing is subjective. Persistence and overcoming the fear of putting your writing out there is key!
Writing – or anything creative for that matter, will always have positive and negative reactions. To put it bluntly – you have to toughen up and thicken your skin. That being said – all writer’s face fear at some point. Hell, I do all the time. However, there are ways to overcome this fear, get your writing finished and get it out there. Here are some of the best ways to overcome fear as a writer:
1. The Glorious Use of Pseudonyms
Nobody said you have to write under your real name. You can have as many pseudonyms as you want! Sometimes it’s easier to submit a piece of writing to a publication if its authored by your pen name. Don’t worry, your real name will still be there, (on the manuscript, if you’re submitting a story), but nobody but those working at the publication will see it. Sure, there’s still some looming fear here of rejection, of your real name being seen on a manuscript, but hiding behind a sort of “alter-ego” can be extremely helpful.
There are MANY writers out there who use multiple pen names. And hey, it can be fun to use another name.
Want a fun exercise? Write down your full, real name. Create names out of the letters in your name. You might come up with a few that you love.
2. Be Afraid, Embrace the Fear
Almost every single person in the world has feared failure. Nobody wants to fail at anything they’re doing. But – without trying, you won’t fail but you also won’t succeed.
Learn to equate failure or rejection as a learning experience. You’ll get nothing if you take no risk. So go ahead and be afraid, embrace the fear and hope for the best. You’ll never know if you don’t go for it. And, if you fail, you can always try again. Just freaking do it. Make “fear” your bitch 🙂
3. Stop overthinking & getting ahead of yourself
Don’t even think about failure or rejection until your project is COMPLETE. Thinking about it will only halt the process of finishing. When you’re writing – no matter what your project or end goal is – stick to working on it. Worry about the fear later. Put your hands on that keyboard, or that pen on that paper and get writing!
Don’t even worry when it comes to editing. Just get the work done. Overthinking the end result won’t help you write better or faster. Sometimes, it can sabotage a piece of writing before its even in its infancy.
JUST WRITE. Keep writing and stick to your craft. Worry about the submissions and editors later!
4. Think of the Worst Case Scenario (It isn’t that bad)
What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll tell you what: nothing worse than what’s happening while you’re not writing, which is literally nothing!
The worse thing that can happen is that you get a rejection or maybe a lengthy piece of edited work that doesn’t even feel like you wrote it anymore. That’s it! That’s the worst that can occur!
There are literally thousands of publications out there – or brands looking for freelance writers. If you get, let’s say, even 20 “no’s”, one yes is all you need. It isn’t going to kill you. Will it hurt? Probably. Can you move on and keep reaching for that goal? Hell yes you can.
The worst case scenario is better than nothing at all. Seriously.
Write – submit – repeat.
5. Remember – Someone read “50 Shades of Grey” & freaking published it
Ugh, if you think the movies are trash, try reading the books. No disrespect, but it’s horrid writing, (in my opinion, which again, is subjective). Someone literally read cringey dialogue that actually uses the term “kinky f*ckery.” And TONS of people bought that book and loved the idea of it.
My point is – think of something you have seen or read that you personally find repulsive or terrible. SOMEONE thought it was awesome and SOMEONE ELSE (that could be you), made a sh*t-ton of money from it.
Hey, different strokes for different folks. People are in to all sorts of stories, niches and types of entertainment. There are markets out there you wouldn’t even believe exist, (Um, masochists who secretly wish their dudes would spank them – a group I never would’ve expected. They adored Christian Grey AND his kinky f*ckery).
6. Learn to not be bothered by Judgement
Hey, we all judge, alright. As creatives, you have to learn to let judgement from others go where it belongs – out of your mind. Do you enjoy what you’re working on? Does it make you happy? Does it bring you pride? Does it stir within you emotions that make you want to dance/sing/scream/cry? Okay then, who cares what anyone else thinks.
If you’re worried people you know are going to judge you writing some super gruesome horror, use a fake name or tell them – it’s fiction, calm it down!
Regardless of what you’re writing, (or anything you do EVER, for that matter), is going to be judged by someone. Learn to let it go. Develop a “don’t give a f*ck mindset” and focus on your art – on your craft. Judgement can’t hurt you unless you allow it to. Take the power away from it. Trust me, you can.
“Being like everybody is the same as being nobody”. – Rod Serling
7. How Bad do you really want it?
Ultimately, it all comes down to this question. Most things do. And, like it is with anything that’s worth while – it’s not going to always be easy. You’re going to have to work at it, keep learning, keep perfecting your craft and deal with people who are going to judge everything you write.
So, how bad do you want your writing out there? How bad do you really want it?
For those of us who, in our very bones, are scribes – it’s wanted, bad. Prepare for ups and downs but know that if you’re following a passion – at least you had the balls to do it! Fail and try again. Get tough. Remember the ultimate goal but put priority in the process!
Writing can be hard. It can also be fantastic. It all comes down to YOU. I truly hope that you push yourself through the fear, that ALL of us have, and really give it a go if that’s the dream. I wish you all nothing but the best & hope this was helpful 🙂
Keep writing, fellow scribes 🙂
Does anyone else have any great tips for overcoming fear as a writer? What works for you? Were these tips helpful? Let me know in comments section! & please share to help out another scribe who may be dealing with writer’s fear <3