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Scared of Publishing? 2 Proven Ways To Write With Confidence

How To Write With Confidence

How to get over the fear of being read

Ever feel afraid to put your writing out there?

I’ve talked to writers who can’t muster the courage to press ‘send’ on posts to their own blog. The idea of sending out an article to a magazine or publishing an ebook makes their knees quake.

Recently, I got into an interesting conversation about overcoming writer fears and writing with confidence. It shed new light on what’s really going on inside us when we feel scared to write.

You might think you’re feeling afraid, but it might really be something a bit different. Once you become aware of what is bothering you, that knowledge could give you the courage to move forward and write with confidence.

This insight came in talking with women’s business coach Tara Sophia Mohr. Tara pointed out that there’s more than one kind of fear.

In Hebrew, they even give it two words.

 

Fear: What’s really going on?

Pachad in Hebrew is the word for fear. Terror. The kind of gut-clenching anxiety that freezes you in your tracks. This is danger; fight-or-flight fear.

This is the primal fear we have that a large animal is about to eat us or an earthquake is about to bury us.

Sometimes, we experience this sort of fear when we write, even though we’re not really in any physical danger. But we feel the same visceral dread.

If you’re feeling this pachad kind of dread, recognize that this is a vestigial fear you have from our caveman days.

Such fear is inappropriate to the act of writing. Typically, your life is not at risk when you publish your writing.

With this kind of fear, try to gain perspective. Even if you mess up with your writing, in all likelihood you will survive.

Or, as I used to say when I had stage fright right before I went onstage as a singer/songwriter: No matter what happens tonight, a billion people could care less.

You’re not a caveman trying to outrun a lion. It’s just words on a page (or pixels on a screen).

So relax. Pick up your pen and go for it.

 

The other feeling you mistake for fear

There’s another feeling that’s close to fear, but different. In Hebrew, it’s yirah. This is more like fear-struck awe.

It’s what we feel when we suddenly inhabit a space larger than we’re used to, Mohr says. It’s the feeling we get as we stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Amazement and an expansion of our sense of possibility…with a little fear mixed in.

This may be what you’re feeling when you hold back from pressing that “send” button.

You’ve caught a glimmer of the astonishing potential your writing has – to change both your life and the lives of others.

And that can freak you out, and stop you dead.

Think of how a best-selling novel or smash-hit blog can completely transform the life of its author. They might skyrocket from poverty to incredible wealth.

Writing can end a war, or start one. The pen – or computer keyboard – can be a mighty weapon.

As you write, you may feel the incredible power you have at your fingertips. The power to change everything.

If you dread change, this can be a problem.

Maybe you find new experiences overwhelming. I’ve met almost as many writers who fear success as I have those who fear failure.

But the drive you have to write is calling you to tell the world what you must. So find a way to start on your journey. Start small, if you need to.

Keep that sense of wonder and awe. It will serve you well in respecting your readers.

But don’t let it stop you. Begin to tell your story. Write and rewrite with confidence. Send it out there. See what happens.

 

Name your fear

If you’re holding back in your writing, try to get in touch with your feelings. Identify precisely what sort of fear you are experiencing.

Is it a primal fear that’s inappropriate here? Acknowledge it – then, dismiss it. Laugh about it, if you can.

Or do you stand in awe of the power you hold? If so, take a moment to marvel at your limitless potential.

Then, begin your journey. There’s nothing else for writers to do.

Step over the edge of that canyon and fly.

What’s preventing you from writing with confidence? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

 

About the author:

Carol Tice writes the Make a Living Writing blog, one of this year’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers winners. Subscribers receive the free 21-week e-course, Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers.

 

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19 thoughts on “Scared of Publishing? 2 Proven Ways To Write With Confidence”

  • Ola says:

    Thanks for this post. I have read about fear, from authors like Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield, but this concept of the two kinds of fear was new to me.

    The yirah fear also makes me think of words from Brené Brown, saying that we have a tendency to be in one of two states, either “I’m not good enough”, or if I think too highly of myself, as someone deserving a “Who do you think you are?”

    So for me, I think the yirah often stops me, as I tend to go back and forth between the two states, and both prevent me from hitting the send button.

    Greetings from Sweden.
    Ola
    Ola recently posted..My favourite thingsMy Profile

  • Anna Cortez says:

    This is a very important issue and factor. I’m not really a great writer, have lots of confidence in my Songwriting due to encouragement and asessments , more confidence in writing due to my finding your blog here BUT there’s still a LOT I fear when deciding what I can or cannot write. As time goes by precious comments and people give us a little more confidence to write from the heart. Lately I noticed that when I took a deep breath and wrote what came inspirationally or contacted whom I felt to in the same way I received an amazing response from people with wonderful blogs or music. Sometimes I feel I’m not confident enough to write and other times too confident. Wonder if it’s a disease for writers. Joking! Writetodone taught me to ‘listen’ and ‘wait’ to see what our followers like best so this is what I focused on with three amazing links and collaborations in less than a week! Still I’m back to that ‘will I or won’t I’ or ‘should I’…YES!…Your Best article for me this one so will keep it close and read it every day..thanks..

  • Unleashing our power to write is a bit like Pandora
    opening the box. We’re curious to know where our
    writing talents will take us. But once we actually do
    something about it, we become overwhelmed
    with the potential that writing well offers. So we do
    nothing and paralyze ourselves.

    It’s not that writers are afraid of being successful.
    Rather, when we fully realize just how valuable our
    skills are, the fullness of what we can accomplish sort of
    catches us off guard. It’s in that moment that we
    either succumb to our potential or embrace the
    opportunities now before us.

    The secret to building and maintaining confidence is
    to write well every day. The genius is in the process.
    Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is much
    more manageable – and well within the scope of things
    that we can control. As a result, the enormity of what we
    bring to the table as writers is reduced to simply putting
    one foot in front of the other. Or more exactly, placing one
    word after another in a way that everyone can understand…

    Thanks for posting this article. Carol is fast becoming
    one of my favorite authors. I absolutely love her work.
    Enjoy your day!

  • Good post Vinita,

    I’ve learned to just put it out there.

    The posts that you think people will like the most get ignored.
    The posts that you think no one will read get the most shares.

    Moral to the story, just do it.
    Then review and do it again.

    PS: I don’t think people are scared to write but I do believe they are anxious and nervous.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..Link Building: You’re Doing it Wrong pt. 3My Profile

  • I used to be afraid of rejection, now I don’t care… I think you just have to take a chance and know that there will be those who are receptive and those who are not. With the billions of people in this world, you cannot reach everyone, so knowing who your audience is IS IMPORTANT.
    Lorraine Marie Reguly recently posted..I LOVE CERTS. I AM NOT KIDDING!My Profile

  • Thanks, Carol. Very insightful, as always.

    The article also reminded me that, if properly harnessed, fear can also motivate us (as in your fight-or-flight scenario). But just standing there “frozen” when the lion is approaching is never a successful option.

  • Carol! I love that you looked at the etymology of the word fear. I love words on that level, and there’s so much we can learn by looking at the history and evolution of words.

    Anyway, the split definition works perfectly for life in general as well as writing, and the idea that we’re either afraid of dying or thriving … yeah.
    Sarah L. Webb recently posted..21 Fears that Will Kill Your Dreams if You Let Them!My Profile

  • I have had these thoughts, mostly in the early stages of writing. I got so excited when I first wrote something good, that I put my hands behind my head and leaned back. One day as I was leaning back, I realized no one was commenting anymore. I then realized my readers had gone on to read other things, written by other people who were bent over their keyboards typing madly. I learned one thing; if I’m going to get good, I need to stay ahead of my readers…by typing madly.
    Annette Skarin recently posted..Clumsy Canadian ChildMy Profile

  • Rosanne Bane says:

    Nice distinction between 2 types of fear. Figuring out what you’re afraid of can be helpful, but it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact, we have at least two memory systems — one we have conscious recollection of and one we don’t have conscious recollection of. (The case of the French amnesiac I first read about in Joseph LeDoux’s Emotional Brain and refer to in my book, is a compelling example: http://baneofyourresistance.com/2010/10/08/wisdom-of-resistance/)

    It’s vital that writers recognize that just because you don’t know what you’re afraid of doesn’t mean you don’t have a legitimate and compelling reason to be afraid. Once the limbic system triggers the flight-or-fight response, it doesn’t matter what the cause was, the response is the same: you have to relax and get the creative cortex back online.
    Rosanne Bane recently posted..Why Habits Work When Discipline and Will Power Won’tMy Profile

  • Arushi says:

    That’s a great piece!

    Most of the times, the reason of our being held back from succeeding or even trying for that matter is that we dont really realise what’s messing with our heads. All our thoughts and emotions get bundled up and just collectively produce the feeling of anxiety. We are left helpless and unable to detangle the mess.

    Just understanding and naming the emotions we are feeling and the reasons behind them goes a long way in making us understand that we are actually quite capable of conquering them and moving ahead to action from inaction.

    This isn’t just true for writing but for any thing we wish to do. A little contemplation into the depths of our mind to know the truth behind our anxieties goes a long way.

    Again, great piece!

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  • Fear may be too strong a word for some. Worry might better describe the feeling.
    I believe I have overcome the worry of the reaction to my writing. I do wonder, though, about the polite responses or the complete lack of them.

  • Hello, Carol,

    You address many of my main fears but in unique terms that make them seem more accessible to attack on my part. I guess this is something you must practice and that you get better with overtime. The end goal is worth it, however, and I appreciate the advice.

    Darin L. Hammond
    Darin L. Hammond recently posted..Google believes helping others holds more value than money?My Profile

  • lotAluluddy says:

    Can I just say what a relief to uncover somebody who really knows what theyre talking about on the net. You surely know learn how to bring an problem to light and make it significant. More individuals should read this and fully grasp this side of the story. I cant think youre not more well-known simply because you definitely have the gift.

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  • Carol~
    Thanks for this post. It’s an essential teaching. I’ve been reflecting and writing this month about how to muster we must muster creative courage.

    Last year, Tara Mohr produced this video on the exact same topic and with the same framing:
    http://www.taramohr.com/2012/08/yirah/

    and here on bigthink:
    http://bigthink.com/think-tank/fear-is-the-mind-killer

    I hope this adds to your perspective.

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