Banish your fear of writing with this exercise
“I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. . . . Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.”— Stephen King
I’m starting a new book with the goal of finishing my first draft in 90 days. I started writing the book last year but was sidetracked with other writing and editing projects. I was also sidetracked by fear:
- The fear of getting it wrong;
- The fear of not being good enough;
- The fear of getting halfway through the story and not knowing how to end it;
- The fear of writing myself into a corner;
- And about 100 other fears.
As Stephen King suggests, I’m learning how to let go of my fear to become a better writer.
For my next big writing project, I’m following the writing prompts in Alan Watt’s book, The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within.
In five minutes, I had a page of fears, including the ones above. But when I was done, I felt exhilarated. I felt free. And I could begin writing. I repeat this exercise whenever I feel the need to get out of my own way.
Watts says, “Children…are fearless, lost in the bliss of their imaginations. Their motivation is to delight themselves. As we amuse ourselves, we will naturally move in the direction of our story.”
As mentioned in my last post, “Practice your storytelling technique through the eyes of a child,” learning to be child-like may we one of the best ways to grow as a writer and artist.
Exercise: Pick a writing project or other project in your life where you feel some fear. For 5 minutes write, beginning with the sentence and filling in the blank: “I’m afraid to __________(write this story/call this person/do this thing) because….”
For more ideas about conquering fear, read my previous post.