Saturday, March 1, 2014

Top Seven Writerly Fears of DOOOOM

Being a writer is scary. It's serious business. You write something and then you pass it over to people to read, and they're like "oh whatever" and you're like "OMG THEY'RE READING MY SOOUUL".

In honor of recently handing off my own work to some of the most wonderful writers I've ever read, (and also some friends who aren't writers, but voracious readers) I bring you: TOP SEVEN WRITERLY FEARS OF DOOOOOM. But it's not just about baring your soul to other people, there are many things about being a writer that would scare the piss out of even this guy:

One, two beta readers coming for you; three, four better run spell check before...

Writerly Fear Number One: Even though I've been writing for five years and I edited that draft until my eyes bled, deep down, I still think it might suck. 

You know you're thinking it. You love it. You want to squeeze it and kiss it and call it George, but then you send it to that reader. The one that's super smart, or super informed and opinionated, and you think it. They're going to hate it. And by extension they're going to hate me.

Writerly Fear Number Two: They're not going to get it.

You outlined it. You wrote it. You edited it to death. You understand the thematic nuances behind each scene, and the irony of some scenes that are supposed to be taken ironically and not completely literally. But will they get it? Will they think it's stupid? Will they think it's literal and then judge you and hate you some more?

Writerly Fear Number Three: I'm never going to write anything remotely good ever again. This was a one off.

You've finally done it. You wrote something, and you don't think it completely sucks (it just sucks a little, maybe. In spots.) It's taken YEARS to get to this point, but the fear remains. What if this is it? This is the only book I ever write that isn't total crap on a poodle stick?

Writerly Fear Number Four: You get good feedback from people about your work, but you're pretty sure they're lying.

This is it. You get the e-mail/text/phone call from your reader and they love it. They love the characters, they think it was funny, etc. etc. And you have a moment of elation. Yay! I rock! But what if they're lying? What if they're just saying these things because they're really nice people, but the truth is they hated it and they don't know how to say that without being mean?

Writerly Fear Number Five: Four million one star reviews on Amazon/Goodreads/pick a site!

Okay, this isn't a totally legitimate fear because if you have four million reviews, one star or not, that's means lots of people read your book, so it can't be that bad. But seriously, what if you become like the Rebecca Black of the writing world? Tons of people saying awful things about your horrible is that? Poor Rebecca Black, she's so cute, she doesn't deserve the mean things people said about her song :(

Writerly Fear Number Six: Telling people you know that you're writing a book

It always happens to me. I reveal to a co-worker, acquaintance, whomever, that I write books and they ask things like, "What's your book about?" and that elevator pitch that you've worked on forever that sounds super great while you're thinking about it in the shower, comes out sounding like the lamest concept ever imagined. Like Sharknado. Or you stumble over your words and can't quite get the idea out. Yep. Real articulate. I'm a great writer. Really. *face palm*

Writerly Fear Number Seven: Not doing a topic justice

I'm struggling a little with this one right now. I'm writing a book and the MC is a side character from the last book I wrote. In book one, this character experiences date rape. In the book I'm currently drafting, she's dealing with this issue and how it's effected her and her current relationships. But...what if I can't do this topic justice? What if someone who's experienced rape reads it and finds it lacking or insulting? That's the last thing I want, I want people who've dealt with this trauma to know that they are not alone, and they can move on and they can get justice.

So, those are my biggest fears when it comes to writing, and some of what I'm experiencing now.

Please feel free to share your own biggest fears and insecurities, it really does help overcome them!


  1. Yes, yes, yes!!! You hit the nail on the head with each of these. One of mine is: half the people who have read it love it, the other half don't. Who should I believe?

    I also dread the idea of someone else coming out with the same, or pretty darn close to the same, idea and getting it to market first. I've seen that happen to other people before.

    Or - you absolutely love your story; it's just the kind of story you personally want to read, but are you a weirdo and no one else wants that kind of story?

    1. Joyce - right!?? I had one reader say she LOVED the beginning, but wasn't as compelled in the last half. Another thought the beginning was slow, then it picked up and she blew through it. I think there's a lot to be said about subjectivity. You can't please everyone all the time. Who should you believe? YOU! If you love it, others will too, just not everyone.

      I never thought about someone writing something similar at the same time! Dang it, one more thing to bite my nails over! :P

      I think if your story is the kind you personally want to read, then you are doing EXACTLY the right thing!

  2. Um, I'm pretty sure you stole these right out of my brain. And....yeah, Sharknado has one-upped my elevator pitch a time or two when I'm nervous :/

    1. I'm glad it's not just me! I'm great when I can sit down and formulate a response and take my time and re-read and re-write...but when that anxiety kicks in, forgedaboutit!

  3. I hear ya, pumpkin! I don't know how to pitch anything a real person. Once I was at a writing conference and I pretty much mumbled and fumbled when asked what my book was about. So embarrassing!! *facepalm*

    Love ya!!

    1. Oh no! Poor Precy! I am sure it happens all the time. It's hard when you're under pressure to perform ;)

      Love you too lady!