Insecure Writers Support Group: war against fear

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"Let's rock the neurotic writing world!" Alex J Cavanaugh

It’s that time of the month again! Oh, hang on – I just realised how wrong that sounds. Let me clarify. It’s time for this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group. If you’d like to learn more about the group, you’d be best to visit Alex J Cavanaugh’s blog. After all, the group is his brain child.

For this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group, I decided to be lazy clever and re-post something I wrote about six months ago that I think will resonate with fellow insecure writers. So, without ado, I bring to you…

Writers go to war: against fear

The_Scream

Fear personified...

Fear has many weapons in its arsenal. It makes your heart pound, your palms sweat, your skin prickle. It makes you shiver, feel nauseous, become light headed.  It shortens your breath, curdles your stomach, disrupts your sleep, scatters your thoughts…

But the most dangerous weapon at fear’s disposal? Its ability to make you doubt yourself and tempt you to give up…

The good news: writers are fighting back against fear.  How? By exposing fear’s nasty tricks and demonstrating how they, personally, have defeated it.

Veronica Roth has outed her fear demons on her blog, revealing she suffers with anxiety about whether her writing will please some key people whose opinion she cares about. But she has also declared that she doesn’t want to be a writer ruled by fear. She is determined not to consult her fear when she makes decisions, in life and in writing.

To me, that’s courageous. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’

Veronica is not the only one persisting in the face of fear. Ali from Aliventures admits she gets scared whenever she tackles something new. For a long time, Ali thought that meant she was a coward. But over the years, she’s realised it’s incredibly normal to be afraid.

Ali believes that when tackling fear, you shouldn’t try to convince yourself you’re not afraid. Instead, accept that you’re scared. Don’t dwell on it, just acknowledge it. And then do it (whatever it is that scares you) anyway.

Ali’s strategy mirrors Nicole McDonald’s (from Damsel in the Dirty Dress) philosophy in life: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ This damsel has been struggling with writer’s block but has slowly but surely been defeating it.

I’m fighting fear too, all the time. And right now, I’m winning. I’m [updated] over two thirds of the way through a major edit of my novel-in-progress The Big Smoke, receiving feedback from beta readers on the first two thirds, and enjoying the whole experience (most of the time!).

How about you? – are you a writer fighting fear? How are you going with it? What strategies do you use? Let’s share our tools and win the war between writers and fear for good.

P.S. Don’t forget to support other insecure writers!

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17 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Fear, Insecure Writers Support Group, Writers, Writing

17 responses to “Insecure Writers Support Group: war against fear

  1. Whenever I fear that my writing is doomed,I remember
    THE POTATO OF DOOM.
    A thousand times it calls your name
    A thousand times you hear it
    And fools are those who heed its call
    Yet fools are those who fear it.
    by
    Edward Monkton

    • “The Potato of Doom” reminds me of a game we used to play in drama called ‘Blood Potato’. I won’t go into the details but it required blood curdling screams in a darkened room – lots of fun. Thanks for sharing the poem – helps to keep that fear in perspective.

  2. It takes awhile in a person’s life to realize that everyone faces fear, and the truly courageous peeps are the ones who face it. Being brave is standing up to fear. I think in writing, I face more fear after I get rejections–fear that maybe my story isn’t as good as I thought. It then becomes a belief in ones self, and that’s where self-doubt sneaks in. Best way I’ve figured working thru it is by support with other writers …. knowing I’m not alone and other writers go thru the same rejections. 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree more, PK. It’s really only been the last couple of years that I’ve realised fear is something that affects everyone, to varying degrees. Rejection definitely ramps up my fear too, and at those times I have to keep reminding myself that everyone experiences that too and it doesn’t mean I’m a completely terrible writer!

      I have my monthly novel writers’ group this afternoon – a wonderful opportunity for writerly support. 🙂

  3. I have some fear that I may not have enough money to pay my bills. I am not so much feeling fear about writing as I more feel frustration, doubt, and occasional lack of focus.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  4. Mandela nailed it!
    And there’s more than one way to conquer fear. We can clench fists and tackle it head-on. Or we can just close our eyes and blindly run forward!

    • Hehehe, yep, you’re right. I’ve definitely done both from time to time. And I have, on occasion, turned around and run the other way. Not the best response, but hey, I’m only human. And usually, after a while, I’ve retraced my steps and ploughed ahead through whatever that fear may be. Hoorah!

      Thanks again for establishing the Insecure Group, Alex. It’s a wonderful idea. 🙂

  5. all my life I have fought it and mostly keep the various insecurities in the background (see one method I have is to reduce ‘fear’ to ‘insecurity’ it’s all in the name!!!) also I find sometimes a fear can feed the creativity – harness the power and let it help

    I

    • Replacing ‘fear’ with ‘insecurity’ – nice one. We wordsmiths know how much power a single word can have, don’t we?

      Fear has helped feed my creativity too – it reminds you to question what you’re doing and pushes you to make your writing the best it can be. Without a degree of fear, we may become complacent about our work. Good point, Alberta. Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

  6. I just love the whole concept of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! BTW, I forgot to ask – or maybe you told me and I forgot that! – but did you ever get the book?

    • It’s such a wonderful idea, isn’t it? Although the months do creep up on me very quickly and I realise, oops it’s time to post about insecurity again! 🙂

      I have indeed received the book – and devoured it. I’m thinking I’ll probably write a review of it for my Sunday night post – it will be getting 4 stars. I’ve got my novel writers group this afternoon so I will take it along and see if anybody there would like to read it. If not, I’ll see if there are any takers when I do my book review. Was there a note you wanted me to write out on your behalf and put in the book before I give it away? I remember you left your note at home when you sent it?

      Also, did you see Dora’s reply message about you getting a copy of her book? I think she wanted you to send her your address? If you didn’t see it, go back to her HOT SEAT interview – I’m sure she’d be eagerly awaiting your reply. 🙂

      • I didn’t see Dora’s message – perhaps it came through while my power was out and I missed it? How shall I contact her?

        As for the book, the note I left out of it when I sent it to you just said Hi Cally, hope you enjoy the book or something. The only thing that has to go with it is the folded, printed sheet in the front that Catherine made, that I wrote the instructions on. Hopefully you still have that? So just make sure that goes with the book to whoever you send it to next 🙂

  7. Fear sucks. Unfortunately I live in a society where men like to put their fellow man down by making fun of their accomplishments. I know this is a generalization but it seems like there is always someone out there trying to tear you down. Humans are such petty animals.

    • It’s a real shame to hear that your society is like that, Michael. I must say that my experience has been quite different. The overwhelming majority of people that I come across are supportive of my accomplishments and goals. The main person who talks me down and makes fun of what I want to achieve is me! But I’ve been working on that for a while and am definitely much more supportive of myself than I used to be.

      At least you have the writerly blogosphere – lots of support there. 🙂

  8. I think we all face fear, in some way.

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