Today’s guest post is from the lovely Nore Hoogstad, who discusses overcoming writing fear. Enjoy!
For many people writing is fear. Not for everyone and not all the time. But anything creative is by definition, uncertain. Yet the irony is that fear kills creativity. We writers must find strategies to overcome fear and write anyway.
Here are some common ones writers face and how to counteract them:
The blank page
The most frighting page can be page one, but every time a writer sits down to write we face a blank page.
Do you need a pre-writing routine such as allowing yourself 10 minutes of freewriting to stimulate your creativity? Will music help or a walk in nature or reading an inspiring author?
Find ways into your work and trust the words will come. Our brains like routine so establish one that works for you.
Fear of fear
Perhaps you simply need to accept that fear is part of your creative process right now. Recognise it, say thank you very much and get on with the task anyway.
Always believe that you’ll get there. And if you don’t, act like you do and your creativity will follow. Lead with action fellow writers, and the mind will follow. You are not your thoughts.
Fear of failure (aka rejection)
This is the almighty one that goes something like: What if my writing sucks, what if people hate my work, what if I never get published, what if I get 20 rejections etc. Such fears stop people from writing and submitting their work.
But understand that if you don’t try, you won’t fail, but you won’t succeed either. Build confidence by doing courses, joining a writing group and reading books on writing craft. But most of all, allow yourself to fail.
I constantly read published authors’ accounts of rejection when I need a boost. Maybe you also need to redefine success. I only found a publisher when I truly didn’t care anymore. Writing is for me because I love it. Remember, you are not your writing.
It can be frustrating when what we put down on the page is far from what we want to express. But the first draft is the vomit one and perhaps little more than the gist of a narrative.
In subsequent drafts, there’s time to focus on the story’s coherency, strengthen or change the characters, hone the voice and make all the other technical adjustments. Don’t continuously perfect the first chapters or the rest may allude you.
Go with your creativity and get something down that you can rewrite later. You can’t rewrite a blank page.
You’re scared of what you write
We don’t always like what comes out onto the page. I know an author who was so terrified by the darkness that poured out of her that she stopped writing her book for months.
With support, she got through it and finished the novel, which later won several prizes. Embrace the darkness and see where it takes you. You can always reject it, or perhaps you’ll find a gem in there that’s worth saving. Get out of your own way. Trust.
The dreaded second novel
This is me right now. Will my second one be as good as the first? Am I really a writer? Am I actually capable of creating another novel?
A much-published friend told me to keep pushing through. Are you getting my theme? Remind yourself why you write, and simply do that. If you’re writing for the right reasons, you have to succeed, in the end.
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Nore has been writing for years in either a professional capacity or as a novelist.
Her first novel, Gunfire Lullabies, a contemporary historical drama, will be published in August 2019: writingnore.com
Gunfire Lullabies is the story of two women caught in a whirlwind of chaos and death, and the sacrifices they’re prepared to make in their struggle for truth and freedom.
Jakarta, 1998, and junior Australian diplomat Ava is assigned responsibility for the troublesome issue of East Timor. When Indonesia announces a vote in which the Timorese get to determine their future, she must choose whether to comply by glossing over the violence in her government reports or tell the truth.
Meanwhile, in East Timor, militia leader Gabriel kidnaps teenager Isabel and makes her his sex slave. When asked to spy on him, she’s seduced by the promise of being reunited with her family. Inspired by real-life experiences, this story never fails to fascinate and enthral.
Connect with Nore
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Big thanks to Nore for being today’s guest poster and sharing her thoughts. I hope you enjoyed this article and please check out Nore’s links. If you have any questions for her, leave them in the comments below.
I’ll be back on Friday with a regular post 🙂