Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Many Fears a Writer Faces

Fear like self- doubt and insecurity is a constant pressure and presence in a writer’s life. Many fears surround us ( writers) from the word go. That is from the moment we decide on the theme/topic of our work, to the time we start writing, to when we start querying, to the time the book is published. Even after that we are gripped by fears regarding the reception the book will recieve.

Every kind of fear accosts us when we undertake our writing journey. Sometimes I feel these fears are obstacles created and thrown along our paths by forces unknown to us, to test our mettle, to firm our sometimes weakening determination and to strengthen our resolve to stick to the path chosen by us.

The monster of fear comes in different forms:

1.  Fear of choosing the wrong subject. A subject that will just not interest the readers, agents and editors.

2.  Fear of not doing justice to it by way of plot, characters, dialogues and style.

3.  Fear of not having sufficient time to devote to the manuscript.

4.  Fear of not being able to complete the book. Many times half way through writing we realize that certain elements are just not gelling. Should I shelve the book, or, rewrite?

5.  Fear of not getting an agent.

6.  Fear of the book not finding any home (publishing house) even though the agent is on board. (That is my biggest fear)

7.  Fear of the editor chopping parts that we considered crucial or important. That is after the book has been placed with a publishing house.

8.  Fear of being trashed by critics on whose words hang our writing careers. (If a critic is having a bad day, the result is a bad review)

9.  Fear of readers disliking the book. ( That is a major fear)

10.  Fear of the first print run being unsold. ( Another fear that haunts)

11.  Fear of not being given another chance to redeem ourselves.

12.  Fear of failure, of being unable to rise upto our own expectations.

With so many fears surrounding us, it’s a wonder we are able to put pen to paper.

Indeed it’s a brave soul that battles these fears to emerge with words that not only make sense, entertain, but also bring joy into someone’s life.

Which fear or shall I say fears do you face or have faced in your writing journey. How do you capture these fears to write day in and day out. It will be of great help to each of us if you share your experiences.


  1. I've had about 90% of them so far and I keep telling myself it is part of the process. If I write then this all comes with the territory. Fear can be found in any venture we take on and so we battle it always around us. I pray a lot and trust that God is guiding me to where he would have me:)

  2. Miss Heera Nawaz.June 19, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    As usual, Rachna Chhabria came up with a very relevant aspect of writing - the fear of very real fears. As a writer myself, I can vouch that I have gone through each and every single fear Rachna has listed. But the writer should relegate these fears to the background, and continue, undaunted. It is important for the writer to feel that "the only thing to fear is fear itself" and move on. Thanks, Miss Heera Nawaz.

  3. Well, I certainly recognize a lot of those fears, but I just slog on and try to remember that every writer who is now published had many of those same fears.

  4. Terri... I agree with you that fear can be found in any and every venture we undertake. Only prayers and God can guide us.

    Heera, I don't know why, these fears haunt me time and again. I am trying to instill a positive attitude, so that I remain unaffected by these fears.

    Elizabeth...I am sure most or all writers undergo these fears. It comes with the territory.

  5. FEAR! Ahhh, so much a part of our lives. Along with insecurity, uncertainty, and the list goes on. Our lives are so solitary, that feelings like that can creep in when we least expect them.

    That's why it is so important that we blog, meet with other writers, and learn from them too. It helps get rid of those revolting feelings that can foul up our writing.

    Defeatist attitudes are better left outside where they can whoosh away with the wind. =)

    Missed you, girl. I hope Nina is coming along. *hugs*