#3 - Fear of Writing

I haven't written a single word toward finishing my novel since the 13th of June.

I don't think that confession adequately paints the picture, though, because I only wrote 26 words that day. In addition to that, there are 18 days so far this month that I had planned to write and ended up having to record 0 words for the day in my spreadsheet. Even that sounds too generous because for the past week and a half, I haven't even opened and updated the spreadsheet at all. I just barely added the last week and put 0 in all the days.

To tell you the truth, it's not because I don't know what to write about or because I don't have time to write. After all, I've found time to journal every single day for the past month, I've found time to start this blog, and I find time several times a day to check my email and post to discussion boards on various topics.

The reason I haven't been working on my novel lies not in the field of Time Management, but in the field of Psychology. Something is holding me back. The closer I come to finishing the book, the worse my anxiety and fears loom. What if it isn't good enough? What if I'm revealing too much of myself? What if it gets published and then flops in the marketplace, or the readers hate it? What if I realize when I've finished that I went in the wrong direction on page 3 and I have to re-write the whole rest of the book? These are the fears that make my heart pound and my palms turn sweaty as I stare at the blank page.

Now, I have to consider what to do about it. The option to give up on finishing the book is not even an option, so we'll move on to a discussion of how to finish the book.

In other areas of my life, I've found it helpful to write out clear goals and positive affirmations, review them daily, keep track of my progress, and hold myself accountable.

Word Goal:
In the past, I had a goal to write 1000 words a day, and then I changed it to 1500 words and for a while, that was working for me, but when I started to slip, I think I just threw my hands in the air because I knew I couldn't reach my goal. I think this time, I'm going to start off with a goal to write just 250 words a day. If I get on a roll and keep going, fine, but no less than 250, 5 days a week. After all, that will still get me 1250 words closer to finishing my novel each week.

Overall Goals:
To finish writing this book, revise and rewrite and polish it for as long as it takes, and send it out to publishers in the hopes of getting it published.

Positive Affirmations:
I will finish writing this book.
I will be a successful, published author.
I can do it.
I'm worth it.
Now, I feel like saying Rah, Rah, Rah!

Okay, so it's a little cheesy, but if it works, I can live with that.

I plan to review these goals and affirmations at least once a week, and as far as accountability, I'm sure all of my faithful blog readers will hold my feet to the fire if I don't get it done.

Now that I have a plan in place, I hope to never again look myself in the mirror and wonder why I haven't worked on my novel for the 10th day in a row.


  1. Good for you, Jen. I am a firm believer in personal affirmation. You can do it! You are worth it!

  2. You mention being afraid that you've revealed too much of yourself -- can I just reassure you on that point. The very best books are the ones where the author has put their heart and soul into it, holding back nothing. This doesn't mean I want to know your underwear size -- this means I want to feel your fears, be elated when you're happy, and felt some real emotion by the end of the book. This is the difference between a good writer and a great writer -- be great.

  3. I,however, am curious about your underwear size.

    Man, I am so funny. I say just do it. You will feel so much better and by the time it gets published you will be way into your second book anyway and looking at greener pastures.

    It's fun to see you blogging!

  4. This is why people say the last 1/4 of a book is harder than the first 3/4 of the book. There's no more "It's going to get better, just wait and see!" but "Oh, the story is ending...uh oh".

    But hey! We live to re-write and you can't make the story better by re-writing if you've got nothing to rewrite!

    And don't worry about what you're revealing about yourself. Think of the many books you've read. Now, did you ever, just once, think of what that book had revealed about the author? Or did you just revel in the glory of the story?

    I bet most would say the latter. I know I would. So don't sweat it :) Just write


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