Thursday, April 7, 2011


Honestly, is there anything scarier? 

Every writer, published or unpublished, knows what I'm talking about.  We all start in the same place: an aspiring novelist hoping to catch a break.  And, as every writer knows, the road to that break is far from easy.

Given the time we spend on a project, it is inevitable that certain fears will creep inside our heads.  What if this doesn't work?  Am I waisting my time?  Will anyone want to read this?  Does my story suck?  Is my writing good enough?  Do I have what it takes?  Am I wrong for spending so much time on this?  Should I focus my time elsewhere?  Though, by granting fear the attention it craves, our focus drifts and the quality of our work suffers.

We don't know it will happen.  We don't know it will not happen, either.

Longtime readers can tell you I have more confidence in learning to fly than I do in my writing.  But, at the same time, I am determined to complete my novel and make it the best it can be. 

Personal mindset is one of our greatest controlling factors.  Plugging through that first draft is psychological; it requires stamina and motivation - and that derives from confidence.  We must believe in our work before anyone can be expected to do the same.

Passion and appreciation aside, it is my belief in the story that keeps me going.  When I sit down to write, I dismiss the unknown and treat the project as a done deal.  It will be read.  It will land on shelves.  It will be held in the hands of many.  Most days, it seems to work. 

How do you overcome the fear of failure?


  1. My Friend you have said it all. Poignantly I might add. Fear often sits next to me. He even resorts to blocking my screen. What do I do? I push him out of the way. In the hall as I walk by he stands against the wall screaming at me, "Never!"

    To this I say nothing but walk past him, my eyes flickering a little trying to ignore his voice.

    I will repeat your words and say, it is my belief in the story, in the fact that it must be told! It has to! Why else am I doing all this? For my wife and oldest son to read? For my mother, who doesn't really understand it all?

    Yes and No.

    Earlier on Twitter I typed this message out-
    "Writing is second nature to me. Sometimes I forget that."

    So, I remind myself. I remind all of you, all of US Writers.

    Write. Then write some more.

  2. Thanks for this post, Paul. I need to get over myself and WRITE.

  3. "Fear is at the root of most bad writing."
    ~Stephen King

    "Anything I say sounds fine because I gamble when I write. Too many are too careful. They study, they teach, and they fail...Careful writing is deathly writing."
    ~Charles Bukowski

    This is a great post, Paul. Keep firing those bullets; you may not even realize it, but you are hitting targets.

  4. Hey Paul,
    Nice post. I chose a similar theme for my F.
    Moody Writing

  5. Hi Paul *waves*

    Great post, and very moving too. I remind myself that I would write even if I never sold a book or found an agent, and that with every word I write, I become a better writer.



  6. Many people choose to never attempt anything under the guise of avoiding failure. It also helps to re-frame your expectations!
    Keep up the A-Z blogging. I am mostly doing nouns for mine.

  7. Fear would have to be man's great leveler. It's especially prevalent in writers (something to do with our genetic make-up, I think. You rarely come across an obnoxious, overconfident, talented writer) and the greatest example of this occurs in all our blogs. We are all afraid, we all hope we are good enough, but we have to try and ensure that we don't fuel this fear, that we don't compound our misgivings by constantly reading and blogging and fretting about how hard it all is. Yes, it's tough, but if you have the talent, if you have the drive and you have the belief, most of all, you will succeed.

    I think this is especially true for you, Paul. I love that you are upfront about your fear, that you can identify it and battle it instead of wallowing in its uncertainty. Because of this I know you will succeed. It certainly will not be for lack of talent or drive!

    As writers we should all resolve to blog positively and with encouragement. We have enough doubt within ourselves, we don't need to read about every day!

    Excellent post again, my friend.

  8. I won't allow myself to believe that failure is an option. So many mediocre books have been published, how could it be possible that I couldn't write something worth reading?

    It isn't. Anyone can write a book worth reading. It just takes a lot of hard work. The only way to fail is to give up.

  9. Great post. Fear of success can be equally dehabilitating for a writer. (We're such complicated people!)

  10. Awesome, Paul! And you should be so proud of yourself because you are actually "walking the walk" not just "talking the talk" like so many "writers" do! BTW, love your new blog look! Very cool!

  11. I think the fear of failing would be so much greater if we didn't have blogging... knowing others share the same fears, does help.


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