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How to overcome your fear of writing

Fear of writing

Image Source: Tom Lin :3=

Wondering how to overcome your fear of writing? Don’t worry, even the greatest of writers throughout history have dreaded writing their first sentences of every book they wrote. Fear of writing is a very common fear and might be uncommonly called graphophobia or scriptophobia. Anyway, technicalities aside, fear of writing can stem out of:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of ridicule
  • Fear of exposure
  • Even fear of success
  • Lack of belief in oneself
  • Persecution by the law (communists used to send their writers to concentration camps, perhaps to increase their concentration)
  • A touch-triggered bomb attached to the writing device

OK, the last one is a bit exceptional case, but you may have different reasons for fearing writing.

How to overcome fear of writing

We fear doing things that can cause us harm, pain or discomfort. Decide what writing does to you. Is it painful? Does it bring up old, unpleasant memories or resurrects the buried demons? Do you think people will make fun of you when they read your writings or your vulnerabilities will be expose? Are you being forced to write at a gunpoint? Do you have to write but you don’t feel like writing?

Whatever is the reason, if you have to write, then you have to do it. To overcome your fear or block or whatever you want to call it, you can try the following:

  • Accept your fear. When we accept situations and mental states, our emotions are no longer resisting, and we tend to become comfortable around their presence. The same is true with fear. Recognize it and accept it. Once you accept it you’re in a better position to tackle it.
  • Create a pleasant ambiance. You feel good working in blue light, or maybe red? What about playing your favorite music in the background (make sure you don’t know the lyrics if you play songs)? You can also use aromatic oils and essence sticks if you get a mood boost with pleasant smell. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and try to make it a pleasant experience.
  • Try using different writing devices. Do you find tapping on your keyboard boring? Then use a pen and a paper notepad. Sometimes writing the old fashion is a good way of reigniting your muse. Just make sure you don’t waste much paper.
  • Read badly-written literature. There’s a well-known writer who used to read badly-written literature to feel encouraged. He used to comment, “If these guys can get published, why not I?” But the key here is, you must know that they are bad writers.
  • Start with gibberish. Don’t wait for a sentence that’s going to change the world history. Write whatever comes to your mind. It doesn’t even have to be full sentences and you don’t even have to write words that makes sense. Just start typing and keep typing. Gradually, it’ll all start making sense.
  • Imagine you are enjoying it. It’s like the placebo effect. Imagine that you’re really looking forward to your writing time and it’s the best time of the day. Look at yourself in the mirror and give a big smile to yourself. Laugh out loud if possible.
  • Focus on the objective. Why are you writing? You must be writing to achieve something. The end-goal sometimes can be a great driving force and can dismantle your wall of fear immediately. If you are writing for your client, think about the benefit it can bring both to you and your client.
  • Focus on the Karma not the result. This is the total opposite of what I wrote above. The ancient wisdom of Geeta says we should focus on the Karma (the deed) rather than what we’re going to get out of it. Writing is a creation, so enjoy creating.
  • Create an outline. Use small words and sentences to create an outline. Normally, the ideas are there, you feel difficult expressing them. So just jot them down. A good thing about using a word processor is that you can keep adding, removing and modifying text to your heart’s content. Create different sections using heading, subheadings and bulleted lists and you can add more text later on.
  • Use a mind mapping tool. Mind mapping tools are a great way of organizing your thoughts. You can try out various mind mapping software by searching on Google. For starters you can try out http://thoughtmuse.com
  • Record you thoughts. If writing is a problem initially you can start collecting your thoughts by recording them. If you use a portable recording device the good thing is you can do it anywhere, even while walking around.
  • Practice writing. This is something long-term. Writing is a talent but more than that it’s a skill, and you can hone a skill by practicing regularly. Don’t just write when there is pressing need, or when you are going to be paid for it. Start a blog or something and write daily. Learn new words and phrases as a daily exercise. This way you’ll get used to people reading your writing and reacting to it.

Want to share some thoughts on how to overcome your fear of writing? Please do so in the comments section.