Embracing Fear

post by Michelle Griep

Fear is a negative word. A hateful word. And why am I such a hater?

Well, as much as I hate to break it to wannabe writers, the ugly truth is that fear is part of an author’s life. It never goes away. Fears such as:

  • What if I what I’m writing is a steaming pile of literary manure?
  • What if I can’t even think of anything to write today?
  • What if my sales numbers never pull out of the nosedive they’re in?
  • Sweet mercy! Will I ever be able to lose the 10 pounds I just gained from sitting around writing my last manuscript?
  • What if my book simultaneously releases when Suzy Awesome Author’s book comes out?
  • What if Ben & Jerry’s discontinues Chunky Monkey?

And those are just a few. Here’s the deal . . . writers are psychotic little rock badgers, all fidgety and tweaky. Why?

Because art is subjective.

Even to the artist. You may think that what you create on any given day is a masterpiece, then come back to it the next and have a little bit of throw-up in your mouth because you think it’s just that awful.

But you know what? A small amount of fear is a good thing. It keeps you on your toes. It keeps your head from swelling. It gives you an edge, preventing complacency. Too much fear will keep you from producing anything, but just a smidge is the sweet spot, spurring you on to bigger and better projects.

Recently I co-authored a book (Out of the Frying Pan) with a writerly buddy. You’d think working side-by-side with someone who understands the process would alleviate all those fears. Nope. Even teaming up, writelry angst still had a way of crawling in my ear and whispering, “You’re not good enough to write this.”
You know what? I did it anyway.

And you can too. Go forth, little writers, and embrace fear. Know that it’s part of the writerly game and that you’re not the only one a little shivery at the knees.

Unless, of course, it has to do with Ben & Jerry’s going out of business. Then all bets are off.



Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.