Saturday, 23 January 2010

I Have 'The Fear'

I think I am experiencing the writer's worst enemy: The Fear.

We're nearly a month into 2010, and I've failed my simple New Year's Resolution miserably. I've hardly written anything. I've not even started on the novel in my head.

There's a silent voice that's constantly telling me not to write, because it will be terrible and a waste of time. Without even realising it, I'm listening to this voice. I'm giving into The Fear of being a crap writer.

The logical part of my brain is being over-powered. I know that in order to write well, you must write a lot. Writing is like anything else: the more you practice, the better you'll be.

I know that there is this wonderful thing called 'editing' which means that a first draft doesn't have to be perfect.

I know these things, and yet I'm finding it increasingly difficult to write anything.


  1. Everyone seems to be having the same problem this January. I think we should hibernate until next month.

  2. No. Start writing. The Fear doesn't go away, and when you get to my age the reality becomes concrete. Start with a one-page outline, or describe your main character's furniture, or what goes through their mind as they brush their teeth, but write something. Treat it like a second job, it's the only way.

  3. Ian's right, and so are you. I'll add something Neil Gaiman once said -- if you don't want to write then don't, just be happy with whatever you decide. I like it when people decide to write, but it's up to you. If you're worried about what others will think you should remember to write for yourself.

  4. It will come. Cate's right, a huge amount of us seem to have either not started 2010 or are moving into it so slowly that it doesn't really count as making progress.

    Yes, writers need to sit down and write, but forcing yourself isn't particularly inspirational regardless of what Konrath, Gaiman and others say. Every writer is different. When you're ready, it will flow and it will be good.

    You're not alone in this small patch of barrenness, but we will all get through it and end up with a wonderful 2010. When we do our end of year wrap up, we'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

  5. Find me a single writer who never feels like this. I know I do. Welcome to the clan. not sure about the forcing, not every day -
    best bit of advice I ever had (for what it's worth) remember that reading is part of writing too... enjoy.

  6. I started to reply to this but my post got so long I've done my own blog post instead.
    Hope it's a help.

  7. Do you have a laptop? Do you get a lunchbreak?

    That's all I do. 1 hour everyday and anything extra at the weekend. They say the average writer can do 500-750 in an hour. I probably managed 400-500, but it still works out at 2500 words a week!

    Worth a try.

  8. Hi Sophie

    I currently have a similar dilemma. What if I can't find an idea for the second novel? What if I can't write another novel? What if I forget how to write short stories? Why haven't I written poetry for two years?

    I normally print out old stories and review them when this happens. It reminds me of my achievements!

  9. I have a lot of story ideas. I could tell you, but then what would I write...

    Are you having a hard time finding inspiration?

  10. Lots of good advice and encouragement here - thanks guys.

    Ian, I use my lunch hour to go to the gym (as of last week!) three times a week. The other two days I use to socialise with the other EAs at work. I'm so busy, usually, that I only get half a break.

    A lot of the time I have an idea, and then when I go to write it down, I feel like it's too rubbish to put into words!

    I'm going to do an outline. I think the idea of plunging into a huge piece of writing is feeling too daunting for me at the moment.


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