30 Day Know Thyself Writing Challenge by Writer’s Relief
Day 16: As a writer, what are your biggest fears? How can you overcome them?
I don’t know which writing fear is worse: that of not being read, or that of being read, judged, and not liked. It seems contradictory to possess both, but there you are.
They say that with fears, like with bad dreams, the best thing to do is to sit down, run through all of the things that could possibly go wrong, play them out to their very worst scenarios, and then step back and realize either how absurdly unlikely it is those things will ever happen, or how ludicrous they are to fear. So let’s give it a shot.
Fear of not being read, Worst Case Scenario
I’m not read. Nobody knows who I am. I’m just another no-name writer without a distinct style, no recognized works, and no publications but a handful in small magazines that less than .00005% of the world has heard of (or would pay the price of a small pizza to buy). OH WAIT. THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR. That’s how things already are. Nowhere to go but up…!
Worst worst WORST case scenario: I publish a book and no one cares. But there is no logical reason for this to worry me until I’m even ready to publish, which is ages away. And even with a novel—like all my other writing—the fact remains that in cultivating readership I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
What is there to fear?
Fear that I WILL be read, judged, and not liked, Worst Case Scenario
I am read. Everyone and their dog judges me. People I went to high school with unfriend me on Facebook, mothers frown at me in the store and herd their children away, and I am banned from several countries on account of offensively poor writing.
In this case, hey: at least I’m being read!
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
If people are talking about you—even in the spirit of mockery and ridicule—at least they are talking about you. A notoriously bad book is still notorious, and that means it’s being read. It worked for Fifty Shades of Gray.
With any luck, even if a book is best known for its utter failure to be writing, the fact that it’s known will attract enough readers so that at least one person is statistically bound to like it.
Again, what is there to fear?
Perhaps the simplest solution to all writing-related fears is this (to be read in the voice of Dory from Finding Nemo):
“Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing!”