Writing Realities

I don’t know about you, but I still have a lot of fear about putting my writing out in the world.

I’m working on it, and I do put some of my writing out there, but there’s a lot of writing that I haven’t done, or haven’t shown anyone, because of my fears.

In the fall, my son will be starting school and I’ll have more time to write. So I feel a pressure to “deal with” these fears before then.

Let’s just say it’s been on my mind.

Recently, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine and I told her about the Student Showcase I performed in at ImprovBoston, in Cambridge, MA. I was talking about doing the show and all the public speaking I’d been doing and how it was scary, but putting my writing out in the world seemed scarier to me.

“Why is that?” I wondered as we sat outside at a cafe drinking coffee.

My friend, who is an artist and a scientist, said she thought it was because our writing seems so permanent—but no one reads our stuff over and over. She used the example of my life coaching blog.

“I read your posts and it’s always just enough and there’s always some ‘nugget’ I take away with me after reading it, but then I move on.”

Her words made me feel a lot better.

I realized I’d been thinking thoughts like, What if I make a mistake? What if someone doesn’t like it? What if it’s drivel?

(I could go on…and on—but I won’t!)

These thoughts are negative and not useful. And they aren’t even true.

The truth is I will make mistakes in my writing–and that’s okay. I’m a human being and we all make mistakes. If I make a mistake I can publish a correction if it’s that important, or just move on.

Someone who reads something I write may not like it, that’s their prerogative. The only way I can guarantee no one expresses dislike of my writing is to not write anything and publish it. And that does not work for me.

My writing may be drivel, but the more I write, the less likely it will be drivel.

Okay, that takes care of those thoughts! But really, the reminder from my friend that we’re here to make art and put it out there, and no one is examining it as minutely as we are (except hopefully our editors,) was very helpful.

What helps you get over your fears about your writing?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, family physician, and mother. I’m really looking forward to more writing time this fall (really!)


69 thoughts on “Writing Realities

  1. Please do publish your work, even if it is only for people like me who enjoys the genuineness and beauty of someones own work. Those things that you see as ‘mistakes’ is what make your writing beautiful, because it is yours and no one has the right to say you can’t do this or that. There is also a certain beauty in facing your fears and dealing with them, because it takes true courage. So I urge you as a new and young blogger, do it no matter what response you might get…I promise I’ll love it.

    • Hi Tanya,
      Thanks for your kind words! I’m doing it, I’m publishing my work! Facing my fears and sharing them with people like you has been a wonderful part of my process of moving forward.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!


    • Hi LifestyleswithLia,
      I thought I wouldn’t be the only one feeling this way! Thanks so much for your comments, and for reading!


  2. Reblogged this on Polymnia Blues and commented:
    Down to earth and inspiring. Good for any level of writer to read; a sweet reminder that doubt is natural, but don’t ever lose your passion.

  3. Awesome thoughts. Thanks for sharing. To be honest, a lot of us feel that way. For me it was the fear of finding out my writing wasn’t good, that my insecurities would be validated by the readers. Once i put my writing out, I was so glad I did because now i get to hear how much the readers like it!

    Best of luck!

    • Hi Kylie,
      Thanks so much for your thoughts and your encouragement. I really appreciate it.

      Happy writing!


  4. “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” -Banksy
    Otherwise it makes little difference.
    I, as a reader -want to- read the deep, dark( or light) emotions, struggles and happiness. Something with real substance and moving.
    So if it’s scaring you, do it despite it. It will be uncomfortable for a while – I know firsthand when I see how uncomfortable someone has become after reading my book. But all those emotions dissipate eventually, and then hopefully it will have caused a positive change.
    We want to read the deep, dark, juicy secrets 😉

    • Hi MysticLove13,
      I love that quote! And I agree, if it’s not a little scary, it’s probably not interesting to anyone, not even the author. I continually try to put a little more of myself in everything I write. It’s a slow process, but I’m making progress.

      Thanks for your thoughts and for reading and commenting!


    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I really appreciate it. I will keep writing! (You, too!)


  5. I struggle with the same issue. To me, it is easier to write a daily post than it is to put my other work out there. The problem is…how will I know how it will be received if I never put it out there. No one likes rejection…especially after they’ve poured out of their soul and subjected themselves to the scrutiny of others. I have yet to overcome this fear.

    • Hi Sean,
      I agree, no one likes rejection. I’ve come to realize, though, that I will survive rejection. It will happen and I will go on writing. Starting my blog really helped me move past this fear, and though I still struggle with it, I’m not going to let it stop me from trying to write a book or a short story–and showing it to people!

      Good luck with your writing. I think the important word in your last sentence to me is “yet.” You will overcome the fear, it just hasn’t happened yet.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  6. mistakes are the number one reason to let other people read our writing, especially before we publish. their feedback helps us grow as writers. But I agree. It’s so daunting. Writing is an intimate thing. it’s like putting your naked body on public display.

    • Hi Toni,
      I agree! Sometimes I even hesitate to submit my writing to my critique group, but then I realize if I don’t, I won’t improve. So I do.

      And I plan to keep writing and showing my work to others, even though it’s as scary as putting my body on display. Yikes!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and for reading!


  7. Thought provoking post today; I never really thought about the fear of putting our writing out for all to see in such a way until reading it! True that speaking publicly is not the same as offering up the permanent words in writing; but I like the encouragement to go ahead and take chances in spite of the fear. So what if mistakes are made? Lots of times no one but the writer knows the mistakes any way, right?😉

    • Hi LisaMay,
      I’m glad the post make you think and I appreciate your comments. My work will always have mistakes in it, as I’m not perfect, so I can’t wait to put it out until it has no mistakes, because that’s never!

      Happy writing!


  8. Yep! I sooooo get it!!! I wrote a similar post after going to a writing workshop calling bullshit on my behaviour a few months ago. It doesn’t make it any less scary I think but I found by acknowledging the fear I am moving closer to wanting to share what I write!!!

    • Hi Nardia,
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I do think acknowledging the fear has been helpful for me. It’s like hello, fear, I see you there. I’m not going to let you stop me, but thank you for your concern!

      Happy writing! (and sharing your writing!)


  9. Please write more. You obviously have something worthwhile to say. I felt the same way way,, now I am driven to write. It makes me feel so good. I feel I’ve come to understand myself better and demand more of myself. By the way, I will be sixty-five in October. Don’t wait!

    • Hi Ibeth1950,
      Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate it. Thank you for sharing how much you enjoy your writing. Keep it up!


  10. Good luck with your writing. Its my passion and I write like a maniac, but don’t have time to market and talk about my work. I wish you all the very best, keep going. I admire you.

  11. This was so helpful for me. I am often paralyzed by my fear of failure. In the last few years I finally started blogging but I’m too afraid to try anything else and I let my lack of constant traffic serve as confirmation that I’m not as good as I sometimes like to think. I am also working to address my fear before my daughter starts school in the fall. I still have a two-year-old at home but I’m hoping to find more daytime writing hours in the coming months… and feeling nervous that the excuse of life with little kids has almost run it’s course! When other writers (especially those who seem so far ahead of me) share their own fears, I find such encouragement and feel less lonely in this struggle. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Lisa,
      My blog doesn’t get a lot of comments (my life coaching blog, Healing Choices, not this one) but I don’t pay any attention to that. I think I have quite a few readers but I have no idea because I don’t remember how to look that up, but I don’t mind. Sometimes it’s easier to write and post when I think no one reads the blog, but then someone so random will tell me they’ve read my blog and I realize I do have readers–then I try to forget that and just post again!

      Keep going! I hope you find a few more hours after your oldest starts school.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.


  12. Wonderful writing. I too used to be afraid- believed the world was judging me- thinking I am incompetent in my writing. Now I leave my inhibitions and write! Thank you for posting this blog 🙂 Look forward to seeing more from you.

    • Hi GoStreetMinimalist,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I’m continually working to get back my inhibitions in my writing, and as a result my comfort zone has gotten a lot bigger.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  13. Well it’s natural human nature of being afraid of making mistakes. But i think that we all commit mistakes. No one is perfect in any way. We just have to get rid of that fear of making mistakes. I appreciate your effort of writing this and sharing your fear of writing with us. This is how we all will be able to overcome it.

  14. We can do only our best to avoid mistakes, but at some time we have to decide, to publish, otherwise we will never finish. In the next edition we can correct, if needed, or add some new stuff.
    And it depends, about which topics we write. If we write about political or social topics for instance, then it is not possible to decide, what is the best solution. Therefore many different opinions may be justified, but in the end, decisions must be made. We can only contribute our thoughts and if somebody criticizes us, then this is o.k. If he is impolite or offensive, then there is a very good solution available: Put the email directly into the trash folder and forget it.
    Therefore, get rid of any fears and just write and publish, what you personally think, is correct.

  15. I can really relate to this… My blog is my first attempt to show my writing “to the world”, and I still feel a bit strange when I think about the possibility that someone, a real person, is reading it right now. I mostly just wrote for myself and never thought about publishing anything, but I secretly wanted to do it.

  16. Thank you so much for writing this! It’s so comforting to know that so many people feel the same way about their writing and I’m not just a wuss! I have written for a long time now and to this day, lots of people I know either don’t know this, or have never read anything I’ve written- mainly because I haven’t shared it with them (So maybe I am a wuss after all)! It’s just really scary putting yourself out there. But I am learning to; and your post (and the comments) have gotten me a step closer!

  17. The fear diminishes with the doing. People can form their own opinions about your writing – but remember, for you as writer it’s your opinion that counts. And, we won’t get to read it if you don’t share it.
    Go on, be brave.

  18. Pingback: Friday Fun — Why did you start blogging? | Live to Write – Write to Live

  19. Writing can be absolutely terrifying, I totally agree with you. I was so afraid when I published my first novel last year that everyone would hate it. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my friends I was a writer because I was so ashamed. I joined a writing group and had a it of negative feed back from my book. I a sad, lonely and depressed, i felt I would never be able to be a successful writer. I am so blessed that I have such as uplifting and spiring husband one day when I was expressing my failure as a writer he said this to me, your success is not determined by what others think of you but that you think of yourself. Yes there are days my wiring stinks, I look back at t the next day and wonder what i as thinking, but the more I write the less I have those days. We cannot let one person,one comment ruin us, we have to learn and move forward, that is what success is made of. You could look up your favorite book on amazon and there will be dozens of down right hateful negative comments, there will always be people who disagree, that don’t like your work, but you have to keep going, because in the end that’s what will make you a better writer.

  20. What helps me is …
    ‘Knowing’ the ‘best I can do without over-extending’ is ‘perfectly’ fine …
    as the evolving world at large will best receive what I offer when I present it ‘authentically’ from my heart -*-> with my best intentions …
    What I may regard as ‘imperfections’ (at or after sharing with others) is part of what makes me human & complete … &
    my heartfelt handoff is as central to my effectiveness & impact as the ‘quality’ of the content & the packaging as I alone perceive it. ‘Learning by doing’ can best be done … (i.e. ‘happen’ for me) … by sharing with others … from the heart … as well …

  21. I love this and can so relate, my biggest fear is someone has already written it and better. It’s easier for me to put my writing out there for strangers then people I know. At least if I don’t know them i don’t care what they think as much. but when I let people i know read my stuff it’s like taking the mask off, and then I fear rejection or judgment from people who I want to accept me (hence the mask). I love your writing, it’s so honest and easy.

  22. For me personally, I get over my fear of writing when I remember why I started in the first place. It was like birthing pains. It was time to deliver. In the words of Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire, “I feel God’s pleasure when I ______.” Eric says RUN but my blank says WRITE. God is a Creator and we are made in HIS image; THEREFORE we were made to create, to deliver, in whatever way HE purposed in our individual hearts. Your writing is beautiful! #writeon sweet sister! May we continue to create, to deliver, if only for an audience of ONE:)

  23. Great thoughts and inspiring words!
    I can truly relate, my fear is never being good enough but then I remind myself of why I write.

  24. Pingback: Writing Realities | nikkysblogdotcom

  25. We all have fears but it actually differs which area of the world you live.In Africa our fear increases day in day out because writing fetches very little in terms of income.Not so many people here have the urge to read!

  26. What helps me get over the fear is …
    ….that i know not many people will read what i write (different for you though!),
    …that i don’t know the people who are reading my posts so i feel a bit removed from their reactions, …and finally, and most importantly, that when i did press the publish button i felt okay about the post – so no point in freaking out about it now!
    Keep writing! 🙂

  27. For me, when I write, I don’t ever imagine someone actually reading it. I write for myself. When I receive a comment, reply or a tweet it brings a real smile to my face to think that, just for a minute, someone out there that I probably will never meet has been part of my world.

    When I settle down to write, however I feel that’s where I start. Sometimes I want to try to understand myself and others a bit better. Or I want to hang out with some of the people I think are cool like in my blog https://gertrudetkitty.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/benedicts-housemate/

    I wrote a book a few months ago, and whilst writing it I felt like I actually lived it. In my mind the characters and the action just played out and each morning I’d wake up raring to get back to Henry Whittle’s world. I sent it out to agents because I got a kick out of the idea that somewhere in London, a literary expert, was reading my manuscript. I’ve never worried that it wasn’t good enough nor have I thought it was a literary masterpiece; it was fun. So I started penning book two and half way through an email from an agent arrived and a week later I was represented. I’m now working through editorial advice and I love it because it means the adventure continues.

    I love reading other’s blogs, it could be about any subject written in any format; it makes me feel connected to the world.

    Keep writing folks, if that’s what you want to do, just go for it, who knows where it will take you.

    Be happy. Tx

  28. We will never be able to appeal to everyone, so write what you know and feel, and those who resonate with will read. And yes, it was quite frightening for me when I published my memoir. Bearing our raw and personal souls to the world is very intimidating, but becomes so gratifying. 🙂

  29. Pingback: Writing Realities | Niki Malherbe

  30. My thoughts exactly! Being a BAD (i.e. irregular and somewhat impatient novice blogger) I Pressed This and hope that it Reblogged now too!
    Great advice for all us writers!!

  31. Pingback: The 5 Best Blog Posts on Writing I Read This Past Week | Anne Hagan

  32. Thank you for the post i needed to hear that, my own fears (and complacency) are preventing me from moving forward on my blog. I thought about it and realized that i just need to write for the sake of my enjoyment of writing, not write to try to impress other bloggers (but who doesn’t want their writing appreciated and to not have 10k plus followers?). So its off to the pad and pencil for me! Thank you!

  33. Thank you for posting this, I needed to know I’m not alone. I am currently three days past the date I was supposed to send my book to an editor. I haven’t sent it out of fear that maybe it’s really not that good. I need to let go of the fear.

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