The moment that I ventured into wanting to help other writers through my content, it was easy to see some recurring themes in what makes people shy away from writing.
Many budding writers share a lot of the same apprehensions that hinder them from getting their words from the pages of their notebooks to the world.
I get it. In my own life, I always mention that I never thought writing was a talent and that always made me wish I was better at something else. It took time for me to realize that everyone really isn’t great at writing and that it was something that I should actually pursue.
These are the small things that we let hinder us. But writing has truly been a lifeline for me. I’m pretty certain my head would explode from all the rampant thoughts that I have during the course of the day if I didn’t have the opportunity to express them. Whether it’s through journaling, Twitter, books or my blog, it’s important for me to be able to get it out! So I want to help you get over the hump as well.
Here are some of the four biggest fears I find writers struggle with:
[My voice doesn’t matter.]
There are no short of a gazillion bloggers and you feel like your voice will never stand out. Let me tell you something. I could have never imagined that I would release a book and sell hundreds of copies. Sure there are other people selling millions, but just selling hundreds was a major feat for me.
Getting past it: You have to stop comparing yourself to others. Realize that no matter how many writers there are, no one can tell your story like you. You have a unique voice and a unique set of experiences that will make your writing different. It’s when we imitate others or run from our authenticity that we struggle to find our own space. Be you, tell the whole story, and I promise you it will resonate with someone.
[I don’t know what to write about and how to narrow my focus.]
Yes, many of us start out either not knowing what to write about or writing about everything under the sun. But it’s very important to have some type of focus. The bottom line is you are passionate about something and that’s most often where you should start.
Getting past it: Just start writing. Free writing and journaling are some of the best ways to not only explore your voice but explore your recurring topics. I guarantee that if you write everyday for 30 days, there is a tone and subject matter that comes up often. Start there. When I journal, a lot of it is about the perils of being up one day when it comes to my dreams and wondering if I will ever make it the next. Hence, I write a lot about pursuing your dreams and goals on the blog.
[I don’t think I can write consistently.]
You keep hearing that consistency is key and you keep thinking that you can’t even use the restroom in peace let alone get hours to yourself to write. So you never even start because you figure if you can’t do it consistently then you shouldn’t do it at all. Listen, consistent writing is important when you have something like a blog. But maybe just picking up the journal for a few moments each day will help you get into a rhythm.
Getting past it: The reality is, you probably do have time to write. I am a person who believes that we make time for the things that are a priority. If writing becomes a priority, you will make the time. You don’t need hours either. I sometimes set 30 minute timers to get a blog post done and it works really well. I know that for 30 minutes I will not open an internet tab, check a text message or answer the phone. That’s how I get it done. You also need to be writing all the time. What I mean by that is I will jot down ideas all throughout a day so that when I actually do have time to write, I have essentially started writing the piece in my head first. Clutch. Learn how to be inspired all the time, keep notes, and prioritize and I guarantee you will find consistency.
[I’m afraid to be vulnerable or transparent.]
This one is a biggie. The V-word as we called it in the Digital Storytellers Masterclass. You are so afraid of what it means to share intimate parts of your story on the interwebs. As much as we don’t admit it, a lot of that is tied to pride and ego. We don’t want to let people into our world. Again, I get it. Some of us have been through some real things and exposing it, raw for the world to see can be scary as HECK! Everyone’s call may not be this type of vulnerability, but if you feel led to share but you’re afraid, here is what you can do.
Getting past it: For me, the biggest thing to remember is that my writing is bigger than me. When we take a step back and say, “Who will this help?” What we have to say becomes a lot more important to share. Your words literally have the ability to comfort, to inspire joy, to empathize, and to even save lives. What a mission. Imagine all the wisdom we have acquired from Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Sonja Sanchez and many more. Writing takes courage. Courage to say what needs to be said and what needs to be shared regardless of what people think.
I think it’s safe to say, how can you be a writer and not reflect your life?
I find myself often in conversations with my mother telling her that the key to achieving anything is really just to do it. We stand in our own ways judging ourselves so harshly when that’s not necessarily how the world will receive you.
Trust yourself. Trust your voice and begin writing. Take it step by step. Write personally and as you become more confident, begin to share. Be an active participant in your success. Don’t let those stories die with you. Writers live forever through their words.
Am I hitting the nail on the head here? Are there any other fears I may have missed? Tell me about it in the comments below.
This past month I co-hosted the Digital Storytellers Masterclass with GG Renee of All the Many Layers. In it, we cover so much material about storytelling, strategy, and style for writers who also blog. And the great news is, it’s now available on Teachable for purchase! To learn more about the course and to register, check it out here.