Friday Fun – Biggest Writing Fear

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Halloween is only three days away, but we’re not scared of ghosts or bogeymen. That’s nothing. We do, however, each have our own worst nightmare scenarios when it comes to our writing …

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: Oh, yeah. Writing fears. Creative fears. Life fears. I have all the usual fears about rejection, but I’d have to say that my absolute worst nightmare is reaching the end of my life and knowing that I didn’t do everything I could … everything I wanted to, that I didn’t put myself out there, express my ideas, share my inner world, let my freak flag fly. And yet, that fear isn’t always enough to motivate me to DO the things I need/want to do. I guess maybe I should let myself taste that fear a little more deeply … really put myself in that place and believe that there isn’t any more time. Ugh. Chills just went up my spine. For real.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson: Pushing out of the comfort zone and trying something totally new is always scary, but so rewarding. Like Jamie, I don’t do it enough — even though I’ve done it in the past and know how great the results can be! For instance, with writing, I belong to a great writing group for years where you’d show up weekly, decide as a group on a prompt, write to that prompt for an agreed-upon amount of time, and then read your result out loud. “Reading a first draft out loud!?” ACK! Who would want to do that? But it was a great exercise – even got my heart rate up. But the terror of reading first-draft-crap was the most wonderful feeling in the world after a while. I mean, everyone knew it was a first draft; everyone had individual fears and dislikes about what they wrote — the “act of” writing and reading, though, that was the inspiration.

Arrive at the group with nothing, leave with something. Face a creative fear and come out on the other side with a happy muse.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas – I’m not so much afraid of rejection as I get angry at myself (yeah I know) for not being able to figure out *exactly* what was expected. For some reason I’m always disappointed when I don’t have the super-power of mind reading.

But my biggest fear is similar to one of Jamie’s – that I will have ended my life without having put forth all that I can do. Acting like a true monster, this fear goads me, it keeps me up at night, and no matter what I accomplish in order to feed it, it still taunts me by wanting more.


21 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Biggest Writing Fear

  1. One of my greatest fears is that my writing will be boring.

    As a horror author, I’m OK with readers deciding my writing isn’t to their taste or “not getting it”, but I want to at least inspire some sort of emotional reaction in them. Love it or hate it, I want them to at least react. My fear is creating mediocre work that is read and easily forgotten. I think drives me to improve, especially in this climate where readers are bombarded with so many potential options.

    • Oh, that’s a good one.
      No one wants to be forgettable. I know I’ve read my share of forgettable books – stories that I can recall only vaguely, but which have left no lasting mark on my heart or mind. I do not regret reading these books (after all, they were enjoyable at the time), but I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I wouldn’t necessarily like to have my own stories fall into that category.
      Adding new fear to my list.

  2. I’ve got a laundry list of fears, but I suppose one of my bigger fears is that readers will identify my writing with me. In other words, in fiction if I write about a promiscuous woman, then I must be promiscuous. Or if I write about a drug addict, then I must be a drug addict. I constantly have to get past the thought of “No, no, I can’t write about that, people will think I’m weird.” I have to trust that readers can separate the author from the work.

    • You know, Tina, I think I have that fear even though I didn’t realize it.
      I tend to always want to write “nice,” “happy” things … especially in the columns I write for my local paper. Sometimes, these pieces don’t fully reflect the range of my feelings or tell stories that I would like to tell, but I hold back because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable (myself included). But … I think that writers should (at least sometimes) make people uncomfortable … that’s how we learn – by stepping beyond our comfort zone into new ideas and experiences.
      Hmm … lots to think about. Thanks.

  3. When I read my book to anyone then I feel afraid of the comments that will come. When writing I feel afraid when I kind of get stuck somewhere and have to drop everything because I am out of ideas. Then somehow I get an idea and continue. Great post!

    • Oh, I so know that fear of running out of ideas. Sometimes, I think I worry too much about hoarding the ideas and not enough about DOING something with them.

      Glad your ideas keep coming! 🙂

  4. I can definitely attest to those fears. I recently submitted to my very first writing contest (well, first one since elementary school, which hardly counts since I didn’t see writing as a REAL career possibility back then). Honestly, I didn’t even “want” to submit to this one – my English teacher bribed me with extra credit, and “extra extra credit” if they chose to publish one of the posts from her student(s).

    Then… I got an e-mail saying I won first place.

    So guess who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year and refusing to make excuses about it? This guy.

    • Awesome!!!! That’s so fabulous. Congrats all ’round & I hope you enjoy NaNoWriMo. Keep us informed (if you have time). 🙂

  5. I have several, but my greatest fear is not getting every thing down on paper. So many ideas, and it seems I’m so so very far away. Of course the remedy is to do what I was doing before I stopped to look in on my blogger friends! Write, write and write. So now I’m off to get more writing done! 🙂
    Great question.

    • I know what you mean about stopping to look in on your blogger friends. I often worry about my personal balance of consuming vs. creating, but there’s also something to be said about how consuming the “right” (for your creative ventures) stuff can fuel your creating. It’s a lovely cycle, really. No one creates in a vacuum. 😉

      PS – Glad you looked in on us!

  6. After a lifetime of crippling fears & phobias, I can honestly say that I am no longer afraid of anything.
    What will be, will be. I try to challenge myself so that I won’t reach the end of my life & wish I’d been braver. Of course there are things that make me dubious but that’s not fear, it’s just common sense.
    I hated being a failure. Now I realise that not succeeding isn’t failure, not trying is!

  7. I hate to call not wanting to do something a fear. I call it stepping circumspectly. We as humans are always second guessing what we do. And that leads to fears. I think that it would be better to coin it as a misstep when something you desire to do turns into things that would haunt you. So instead of letting things haunt you to fear,just do it,and learn from your miss-takes.

  8. Pingback: Writer’s Weekend Resources | Live to Write – Write to Live

  9. This weekend I gave my blog a facelift then lost sleep over the concept of platforms. I’m no longer afraid of my family finding out or what people will think about my content, now I find myself at the part of what am i doing and why? Writing has become a part time job. It’s fun. I’m loving it but that’s my scary question now…why?

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