You Can Lose the Fear of Becoming a Successful Writer - Just Write!

Sometimes you must overcome fear to become a successful writer.
Sometimes you must overcome fear to become a successful writer. | Source

Fear of Becoming a Successful Writer

You want to be a successful writer, but your subconscious mind is holding the seeds of fear and they threaten to become tangled weeds of terror. No easy task to stop the stultifying fear, as many before you have found. When it comes to fear of being successful, the subconscious is a power to be reckoned with. Stephen King said, "I am convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing...Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation."

You fully believe that you have the imagination for writing copious material because the characters, the ideas, the plots are with you, much like the force was with Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. But, just like Luke, there is something holding you back. You have the great idea for a plot or for an article, yet you do nothing. You don’t pick up the pen or the computer - you are paralyzed. You let excuses override your urge to write.

Do you realize that it is fear that is actually stopping you?

The successful writers have been those writers who have shut down that subconscious naysayer. They have worked and hacked their way through the fear, no matter the source.

As you are probably well aware, there are commonalities among most writers and the fears tend to be very similar. In this article you and I explore a few of those fears and hopefully, once you have put a name to them, those fears are banished and you let the writer that you are take over.

Fear #1 - They won't like my work!

If you have made the decision to become a writer, the first thing you must realize is that not everyone is going to like what you write. Wrapped up neatly, that is called the fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear of rejection might be the fear that is holding the would-be writer - you - back. You become a little paranoid and it often appears that everyone becomes a critic as soon as you mention that you are a writer. Keep in mind that everyone can find the mistakes someone else made. As humans, it’s what we do.

Just remember that if your writing is critiqued and rejected by someone who is not a bona fide critic, temper the value you place on their critique, even as you listen to their comments with an open mind. Keep it about the writing. Critiques can be valuable. But what is even more valuable is to remember that you are creating material; you are writing. You are operating out of a place of love and passion for what you do. Chances are your critics are not. Shove the fear of rejection aside, smile at them (or not) and just keep writing.

Ray Bradbury shares insights on writing.

Can You Make a Living as a Writer?

Fear # 2 - I'll never make a living writing.

Another fear is that you will never make a living as a writer. Here’s the thing, there are many writers today who are making a wonderful living as a writer. As it turns out, it is easier than ever before because of the many additional avenues that are available to writers today. Look around you. Content is no longer confined to print or spoken word. There is the marvelous platform called the Internet. This is no surprise if you are of a young age, but the older writer must often be convinced to make a paradigm shift.

Content is everywhere on the Internet, some good, some bad. What you need to know is that not everyone is capable creating good content, but if you are, there is someone willing to pay you for that content.

Treat your writing as if it is a business. This is especially crucial to anyone who is a freelance writer offering professional writing services to the public. Yes, I know, you are the creative type that clings to the romantic notion that you can and should only write when and where the spirit moves you. That’s all well and good if you have another source of income like a Trust fund or a traditional job and you have infinite time. Those scenarios notwithstanding, you need to acquire the discipline to write even when you are not in the mood or the spirit hasn’t hit you if you want a paycheck.

Which brings me back to treating your writing like the business it is. Write the necessary copy or articles to pay the bills. Wait for the spirit move you to write the next bestseller, if that is your goal, and even then you must have discipline to write consistently, because, truthfully, the spirit may not move you often enough to get the novel written.

It helps to have a good writing space and great chair for support.

The Tools for Successful Writing

Fear # 3 - I don't have the discipline to write consistently.

If you have something to say, you can develop the discipline to put it on paper. Have a goal and a vision. It will always be difficult to pick up the pen or open the computer if you don’t have an end in sight. Because you are creative, you will always have good ideas, great plots and wonderful first sentences, but it will never go any further if you don’t have a clear idea – a written idea - of what your goal and your vision is. It can be any number of things: have a fabulous income, become famous, manage a modest or even very hefty mortgage or just be heard, to name a few.

You are in control of your vision, your goal and your writing.

Becoming a successful writer, letting go of that debilitating fear, is not easy. However, it is as rewarding as you imagine. What you need to overcome the fear are the mental tools - very simple, accessible tools. The tools all originate with you.

To just write and become successful, you will need:

  • Unwavering discipline.
  • Unshakable belief that you are a writer (or fake it “til you do have the belief).
  • Time set aside to write.
  • The ability to hush the voice that says you can’t do it because you’re not smart enough, not clever enough, not creative enough, etc.
  • A vision and goal of what you want to accomplish with your writing, whether it is writing a novel or writing copy for a business.
  • The knowledge that words are POWER! What you write will change the world in some way. Whether it's a huge change that reaches many or a small change targeted at one person, always know that your words make a difference.

Now that you have the tools to become the successful writer and you have overcome (or at least quieted) your fears, sidle up to that Muse, lock onto your vision, activate your creativity and start writing. Now!

Copyright April 28, 2013 Cynthia Turner

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Comments 49 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

I must admit this is very helpful Cyndi.. thank you for sharing it with us want to be writers..:)

PeggyLou profile image

PeggyLou 3 years ago from Mid-Atlantic States US

I found that the secret for me to be a professional writer was to have something to write about. That gave me a focus for my writing, so my advice is to have one or more things you know well so you have a defined market if you are trying to make a living from it.

Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

Great hub. It took me 51 years to overcome the fear. And now that I have ai often kick myself for waiting so long. I guess turning the big 50 was enough of a kick in the pants to decide to bite the bullet and go after my goals as a writer! Awesome hub...voted up and useful.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

You have awesome skills already. I'm not sure where I come in :-) But I'm glad you have taken a look at the article and found it helpful!

As always, take good care. I'll look out for your next work.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Karen, Thanks so much for your comment. I know what you mean about waiting for tomorrow to start just because we don't think the reaction to our work will be what we want it to be. We writers have to be risk takers every time we publish anywhere. Thanks so much for the votes.!!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Peggy, Writing about something you know is definitely a confidence booster. After all, you can write with authority and assurance about the subject. That can often take care of fear.

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment for me.

Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 3 years ago from India

This is a very useful and motivating hub! I'm from those who write as a hobby, and I love it. Though I'm still learning! :)

Thank you for sharing this inspiring hub. :) Rated and voted up!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland

An excellent hub and one that will benefit all writers whether they are just beginning out or have been writing for a while.

I think you're right in that we all feel the fear - especially of rejection - and its really up to us to work through this fear and believe in ourselves - after all if we can't believe in ourselves no else will!

Voted up + shared!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello, thank you for reading my hub. I'm glad you found it useful. Writing is just a wonderful as a hobby as it is as a career if you love what you are doing.

Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

I'm pinning this one to my wise words board:) It is the perfect advice for any writer. Thank you so much for this hub. It was timely and appropriate for me. Voted up and beautiful.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Helen,

The fear of rejection can leave a writer paralyzed for years. It can be there in varying degrees, but you are so right, it's up to us to quiet those fears and bury them so that we can get on with our writing!

Thank you for the votes and for sharing!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, I'm honored to be pinned to your board and very glad if I have been of any help on your writing journey.

Take care.

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Once writing was considered solitary vocation, but now writing and publishing gurus tell us we should write for the audience. We cannot write better until we identify our readers.

Cyndi, thanks for this useful and informative hub.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Most writers feel fear of making it in the field and give up so easily you have said it all about writers fearing of rejection and about going forward. A meaningful hub for any writer.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

It has changed, hasn't it? There are so many additional ways to connect with the target audience and with other writers, although it still requires long stretches of uninterrupted, focused time.

Take good care.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello DDE, Fear of making it is definitely high on a lot of writers' lists. They are unable to write because of it. They may have great story or article ideas, but never sit still long enough to produce. Lots of ideas just fade away because of that. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

Cindy - Great article. How true - writers of all genre's and levels need to carry a thick skin as not everyone will appreciate the finished product.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks for taking a look. We need to develop that thick skin early in our careers so that we aren't derailed.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Cyndi....You really hit on something that many writers can relate to......and those who might "think" they never encounter this once in a while......I hope you woke them up a bit! Very excellent hub....UP+++

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Sometimes fear can be a motivator, but most of the time it gets in the way of what we try to accomplish as writer. I appreciate the comment. and the votes!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

Actually I wish I'd become a plumber or an electrician Cynthia, lol, there's no money in it for me here at the Hub or elsewhere it seems.

Thank you though for this most enlightening and educational article and it's one that I shall bookmark for future reference and also share on my Facebook page with a link back here.

I sincerely hope all is well in your life right now and I am sending warm wishes to you from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel at lake erie time 9:23am canada

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 3 years ago from West By God

I agree with epigramman. I tried for years and now with all the new crap (yes I mean crap) they are implementing here I don't see how anyone of us who have been here for a long time can ever make it. I will also share this so that others may have a crack at it.

CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

You just kicked my a*s here Cyndi10: "you need to acquire the discipline to write even when you are not in the mood or the spirit hasn’t hit you."--but I'm jet lagged! :) Ok, that's just another excuse for me not to write. Even my own website is still!

Well, thank you for the motivation through this hub. I'm wide awake and listening. So, NOW I write (again)!

Voting up, pinning and sharing. Wait...there's no pin button?

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Colin, You are an absolutely fantastic writer in my book. I'm sure you would have been great as a plumber or electrician, but writing is your destiny. LOL.Besides, we would all be missing out on some great and often fun reading.

Thanks for bookmarking and linking my work.

Absolutely loving today and I hope you and the kitties are, too.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Lady Guinevere, I sure feel the pain! I just keep hanging in there. Sometimes I lose the focus and become my own obstacle.

Thanks so much for sharing and commenting.

Take care and have a fantastic Sunday!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello CrisSp, hope you're jet lagged because you've been somewhere fun!

Hey, even writers are human. LOL. So those excuses are just everywhere and they always make so much sense at the time. Powerful demons!

Keep the writing going! You know how it is, once you get started....

Thanks for sharing. (Oh, I'm a little slow on Pinterest.) Have a creative day!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I have to agree with everyone, you've made many good points. I do have to say though, Frank you are not a would be writer --- you are a great writer. That being said, hanging in there is all we can do. If a writer is lucky enough recognition will come but focus and keep writing is all we can do to get us there.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks so much for leaving a comment. You know we all look to get feedback from our writing and to get positive feedback is always so appreciated.

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 3 years ago from USA

Very motivating and inspiring. You're right, it is fear that is holding me back, and I need to kick that fear aside and keep writing. Voted up.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia Author

It's hard to see that you have anything to fear where your writing is concerned. You always have great submissions to Hubpages.

Thanks for the positive comments.

Michael Kismet profile image

Michael Kismet 2 years ago from Northern California

Hi Cyndi, this is an article every long term Hubber should read. It rings true, there are countless times where I am just stricken with fear that no one will like or approve of my writing and I end up finding a scapegoat excuse not to write.

Thank you for investing the time on such a touchy subject, it's going to have me thinking all day, cause I'm neurotic like that! =)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Michael, It's good to hear from you again. Yes, I think we carry this fear always. The trick is to find a way to get over it and just produce. In actuality, there will probably always be someone who doesn't like what we write, but the optimist in me says there will always be someone who does like it. Gotta push that fear aside.

Thanks for leaving a comment. Take care.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I am struck by your comment about discipline! Who knew?? And yet it makes lots of sense--just write and do it everyday!

KBEvolve profile image

KBEvolve 2 years ago from United States

I agree about discipline being a challenge that can and has to be overcome. I find that I do the best writing when I just start one word rather than think about the larger project, but it is easy to getting distracted from putting that one word down at times.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Audrey, discipline can be a huge problem for me. And I know better, but I'll still succumb to distraction!

Good to hear from you. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

HI KBEvolve, If truth be told, many writers are probably victims of distraction's "siren song." One word at a time is a good motto.

I appreciate the comment. Take care.

mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

Fear! Yes, that is exactly the reason I have not written a Hub lately. I've had many successful Hubs, but can I do that again?? I am fearful I will not, so I don't even start one.

I do think it is important to write every day, as Bradbury advises in your video.

Voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

So Luke and I have a lot in common. Well done Cyndi. Many of us want to write that novel or superior hub but it seems to've made good and useful points here.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 2 years ago from Minnesota

It is hard to imagine that Stephen King would have writer's fear, with all of the great books he has written. Maybe some writer's fear is healthy?

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Mary615, you are so talented, but yes, talented writers have many fears, one of them being "can you do it again." Then when we get positive feedback as you have given here, it makes it a little better. Thanks so much for aiding in my writing with your votes and sharing. Take care.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello tilsontitan, That little voice in the back of the mind can be so inhibiting, at least in my case. It's a battle all the time. Wouldn't it be nice to have some writer's magic dust or something? :-) Take care.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

I agree with you about Stephen King. He is so prolific, how could he possibly have any fear? Maybe it's the fear that makes us want to make the work as good as we possibly can. The trick is to get past it. Not always easy.

Take care and just keep writing.

Breanne Ginsburg profile image

Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago


This is a very good article. I think it's often hard for those of us who want to be writers to try to focus on our writing instead of focusing on the fact that someone may not like our work. Also, so many people advise to "write for ourselves" and not worry about getting published, but that's not always an easy thing to do.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Breanne, I appreciate the positive comment about the article. You are so right, if we want to be published we do have to consider what is thought to be publishable. I think sometimes that fear gets so much in the way, we write for ourselves and never intend for any of it to be published. It helps to remember that everyone will not like what we write and there are so many authors who have been rejected. It only takes one publisher who thinks what we have is publishable. It's so complicated.

Take care and be brilliant.

Breanne Ginsburg profile image

Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 19 months ago from Minnesota

A wonderful and informative article on losing fear of writing. I have noticed in myself that the more I think with my head when writing, the less constructive and interesting the writing. I find that putting on jazz music or something that relaxes and inspires me, helps ease the thinking and opens my heart and mind. Voted up and hit many buttons.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 19 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Minnetonka Twin, Thank you so much for reading. Yes, writing is a process of letting go and just letting what's there come out. But the most important thing is to get it out and onto paper. We may have the greatest poem, plot, article or whatever, but too often I'm guilty of letting it rummage around in my head until I lose the urgency to get it out. That's not the way to become successful. take care and stay creative!

Jason White 417 profile image

Jason White 417 9 months ago

I am continually amazed at the commonalities between us writers. This is very inspirational and practical. It's nice to know I am not alone. Great hub!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 9 months ago from Georgia Author

Yes, we all share a lot of the same kinds of challenges on the way to enjoying what we do. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Take care.

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