Monday, January 27, 2014

Writer's Anxiety

It's here. I have it. Writer's anxiety. I'm not talking about writer's block. It's different than that, but it can sometimes manifest itself like writer's block. What I'm talking about is straight up fear. Fear I'll never succeed. Fear every five star review is wrong. Fear getting an agent and a contract was a fluke accident and I'll never write like that again. But mostly fear that my writing is not improving or worst of all getting worse. And it's stopping me. Stopping me from everything. I put off editing my last book out of fear of how much it sucked. I was afraid to read it basically. I didn't want to know how bad it was. When I finally got started, it wasn't as bad as I remembered. LOL. Still. Recently, it took me forever and a day to write an outline for my grad class, because of the same kind of fear. The concept was lame. The plot not developed. The book would suck. And as long as I didn't turn in the outline, I couldn't start on the book, right? After all, if my mentor didn't like it she would just make me change it. I did eventually get through the outline and get it turned in a night early even. I haven't started writing yet. The outline seems daunting. I wonder if I can write the book right. It's an important book. I need to do it justice. But I fear...

Have you ever suffered from writer's anxiety? How did you deal with it?


  1. This happened to me after I sold my first book. I was afraid I'd never write another that was as good. But once I made myself write another book, it was better than the previous one. I think what you're going through is normal, Beth. You just have to make yourself work on the book.

  2. Kelly is right. I just wish I knew of an easier way to push ourselves into the next book in spite of our fears. Last year I was in t he same place. My fear wasn't that the second book would be as good as the first. No, my fear was that the first book was so bad that I shouldn't even bother trying to do better because it would never be good enough. (Probably won't in my own eyes!)

    However, somehow you have to give yourself a break. I discovered my got worse when I was drafting a new story because, well it's a draft. And they almost always suck. But, if you can remember that drafting is like shoveling sand into the box so you can build a castle during rewrites, you will make it through. That's my mantra to keep me from chucking my computer across the room--shovel the sand, gather the sand...

    Good luck!

  3. I feel anxiety all the time. I feared my book wasn't good enough, then after it came out that it wouldn't sell (that's coming true), and now that I will only write crap books and my agent will fire me. But 1) I'll keep trying and do the best I can, and 2) if I fail it's not the end of the world. It's not like I've been diagnosed with cancer and have six months to live. It just means I'm not the right person for a writing career. I've had several careers in my life already and I'll find a new one. Good luck fighting your anxiety. The higher your expectations, the more fear you have.

  4. Your Missing Piece cover looks great!!

    I know how you feel. Fear can be crippling. Especially after pubbing others. And that fear can really hold us back. Make it a point to be fearless--write as if no one is no one will ever read it. Tell it like you really want to tell it deep down in your heart and let it flow. It's ok if it turns out crappy at first cuz it can be fixed later. But I've found the only way to get to the good stuff is to be fearless and not give a crap about what anyone else thinks.

    Good luck!! ((hugs))

  5. I think you need to start a success jar. Every time something good happens, write it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. It can be anything from an A on a paper, a good review, a nice comment on the blog, a successful day of writing. Whatever makes you feel successful. Then when these feelings of fear creep up on you, you can look at a whole jar full of success and know that the fear is temporary.

  6. It's funny. I'm actually really cynical when it comes to the publishing world. I don't fantasize a published writer's life. At least not completely.

    Sure there's deadlines, contracts to uphold, agent/editors/readers you feel you need to satisfy, and more deadlines. But there's also the process of the journey that culminates to the finished product of tough love and labour at the end--wherever the end is.

    I've never finished a novel because fear of failing to bring what was in my head out on paper/screen. But now that I think about it, I'm more scared of dying before I get to finish telling at least one story. Even if that story is actually really, really bad.

    So no fears! You totally got this, Beth. :)