So, a few months back I went to a 1-day Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership event (more on that in another post). It was a motivational class for people who wanted to learn more about owning their own business. But I figured it probably applied to writing, too, since working on a book is usually a solitary event, no set hours, no boss looking over your shoulder and telling you to write more.
One of the first things he talked about is why people don’t following their dreams: simple fear. Fear of opposition, yes. Fear of failure, sure. But also fear of success, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of other people’s opinions. As you already probably know, fear will paralyze you. You won’t write. Maybe you’ll feel guilty about that & beat yourself up, but still you won’t write.
Here’s what Dave suggested: Keep moving forward even if it’s only in bite-sized chunks. Here’s what I say: If you keep making the decision to write, to show up every day and work, even if it’s only a sentence or a paragraph at a time, eventually the fear will lessen and will probably subside altogether. You’ll find yourself writing for longer and longer stretches. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself looking forward to sitting down and working. Eventually, you may even miss hanging out with the characters even if they’re only real in your head.
He also talked about looking at options and the worst-case scenario. So what’s the worst thing that can happen if you spend an hour working on your book (you had fun, you learned something, you wasted your time)? Okay, so what options do you have if you think your writing stinks (hire an editor, take a writing class, join a writing group for feedback)? What’s the worst thing that could happen once your book is done (you don’t find an agent, you do find an agent, critics hate it, critics love it & you have to come up with something just as brilliant the next time around)? What options do you have if you can’t get it published (self-publish, put it in a drawer & work on another to hone your craft, give it as a gift to your friends/family). Dave’s point was that if you take the time to make a list of your fears, walk through what could (not will) happen & have a list of options available so you don’t feel trapped/stuck, you can nearly get rid of all fear.
Hope this helps you. Happy writing!