“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.”

– Mark Twain

From Mark Twain’s quote, it is understood that there will always be fear but it has to be resisted by taking every step it does not want taken. A number of people perceive in their heart they can write but have not been able to launch out because of fear.  The reasons for the fear may vary from one person or the other.

Why have you not started writing?

You are new and you are not sure how your writing will turn out. Talents are nurtured. There is no writer that had it all worked out from the first day. They took the plunge and gave their writing a trial. Writers improve as they write and not as they spend time wondering if they could write what people would appreciate. As much as it is good to consider your readers when writing you should not let what they will think prevent you from publishing to ascertain how they feel about your writing. You can (like Steve Biko) ‘write what you like’. As you write you will understand more what your readers like.

Why are you overwhelmed?

You are a perfectionist and you keep comparing what you are writing with the ideal image you have of an excellent writing. Perfectionism cripples but writing and submission liberates. The biggest room they say is the room for improvement. That is why you may never be satisfied with your output but it does not mean you should not launch out. Take Microsoft for instance, Windows vista was not the best, but it was launched and while people were using windows vista, they came up with windows 7. Windows vista may have not been a huge success but they made some money from it and learnt some lessons which must have helped with the development of windows 7.

Ask some renowned writers, they will tell you that after their works have been published, they think of ways the books could have been better written. However, they do not dwell on these thoughts; they move on and continue writing. A number of the authors don’t imagine their books will be bestselling. So take the plunge and write; you never know what will happen until you have written and submitted.

Why are you not writing as you ought to?

You are afraid of critics and rejection. I doubt if there are writers whose works have not been rejected. Ask Stephen King or John Grisham and they will tell you. Not everyone will like what you write but for those that will, write! I see rejection and critics as the surmountable road blocks in a writer’s career. Respond positively to rejections and critics whether constructive or destructive. Although it can affect the emotions, do not let them settle so deep that they affect your creativity or make you give up writing.

Editors, agents, reviewers, judges etc. have different ways of perceiving things. I remember an academic paper I submitted to a journal. The editor sent the reviewer’s comments and asked that I make the necessary corrections. One reviewer rejected the paper while another requested that it be published due to its originality. If the paper was sent to reviewers with the same perception, the paper would not have been published. If your writing is rejected and reasons are given; let it be an opportunity for you to improve on your writing and not discourage you. Depending on the reason, you can improve on the article and send to another publisher or put the article aside if it cannot be mended and write another. I have an article I have put aside and I have written other articles since then. Don’t stop; keep writing because you never know the one that will give you the leverage you need.

Why do you make excuses instead of writing?

You are at your stage comparing yourself with bestsellers wondering if you will ever write like them. In fact you have tried to copy them and failed. Don’t despise or belittle your little beginnings and don’t compare yourself with anybody. The dream writer will not be achieved overnight. You improve by writing more. You crawl before you walk and you walk before you run. You have your own unique style of writing; let the world know it. Dont compare or copy another writer.

Why have you written and not submitted?

You feel you have revealed so much of yourself in your writing. That is so good as your readers will effectively connect with your writing. Emotions are needed! Some of Danielle Steel’s novels have moved me to tears because they are life situations and emotions I can connect with.

Why did you stop writing?

You are experiencing the ‘hyped’ writer’s block. I refer to writer’s block as hyped because some people don’t believe it happens, it happens to some while some use it as an excuse not to write. What do I think? There is always a way out of writer’s block. Our everyday life should give us what to write. We can learn from other authors how they overcome writer’s block.

Why should you take courage and continue to write?

You have a unique you as a writer the world must know. You have a role another will never play. Yes, no one will write like you and YOU have a section of readers waiting to read from you. Don’t keep them waiting forever.

How can you conquer your fears?

By writing, writing and writing!

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