What Every Writer/Human Fears

Writers are a different breed. We’re the creatures that bleed words. I recently told someone that for me, Barnes and Noble Bookstore is a dangerous place. It’s no Chicago back alley, but it is a good place to lose your money — if you’re obsessed with books, as most writers are. And when it comes to fear, there’s one thing that keeps us wordsmiths up at night: the fear of acquiring writer’s block. But this fear is not limited to writers. When you dissect the concept of writer’s block, what you find is a common fear — one I believe plagues most people: the fear of loss.

That Thing We All Fear…

Many years ago, I decided that I would pursue my dream to write professionally. I studied both fiction and nonfiction writing, learned how to query editors, and took a course that taught me the basics of building a freelance writing career. I identified my favorite genres, and began crafting pieces for practice and eventually, for sale. I applied to write for a few media companies, and found some low-paying magazines that would consider queries from unpublished authors.

Slowly, I started selling my work. I worked nights at the hospital. During the day, I split my time between the bed and the computer (sleeping and writing) — catching my Zzz’s and then crossing my T’s.

When I finally took the plunge into full-time freelance writing, I found myself tussling with fear. Staring at the ceiling at night, I’d think about all the writing tasks on my to-do list, and wonder if I had enough words in me to complete them. Everything hinged on my ability to write now, so what if I lost my words? What if I woke up one day and my brain could no longer weave them into intelligible sentences? What if…

And that’s the fear that plagues us all — writers or not. It’s the fear of losing what we hold dear. It’s the fear of facing life without that thing that moves us, makes us special, nurtures our souls, or fills us up like a holiday feast.

It’s easy to get caught up in our worries, to lose ourselves in the what ifs. Whenever I start to create these scenarios, I remind myself that my thoughts create my suffering. My unhappiness comes from my thinking. But I can’t shut off my mind.

Worrisome thoughts buzz like angry bees in my head, and the more I try to stop thinking of something upsetting, the more it surfaces. It slips into every scene like the Waldo in a cartoon picture book. So when you tell yourself to stop thinking of something, your brain hyper-focuses on the idea, which inadvertently leaves you thinking about how to evade the thought — not very productive, am I right?

Rather than trying to eliminate a thought from your head (an impossible feat), replace it with some superior thoughts:

At just the right time, I will have what I need. I will not let worry be the grim reaper in my good life.

I no longer fear losing my words. In fact, I have notebooks in every place around my home. I keep them in my car, and in every purse I carry. I’m convinced that writer’s block is nothing more than a myth. And thanks to my yoga journey, I have learned to face my fears. If you aren’t a yogi, I challenge you to try it out and see if those headstands and arm balances don’t help you discover your own badassery!

P.S Here’s the truth about fear…

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real

32 Comments
  • Danica
    October 15, 2015

    Great idea on keeping notebooks around everywhere.

    • Rica Lewis
      October 15, 2015

      Thanks, Danica. I also use the notes feature on my phone, but paper and pen are my preferred method.

  • brianna
    October 15, 2015

    Fear is a liar.

    I love “At just the right time, I will have what I need. I will not let worry be the grim reaper in my good life.”

    Yes. So much yes.

  • Uttley
    October 15, 2015

    So true – when you push something away, you give it power. When you simply focus on something else (or replace a thought with another, as you say), you are not giving power to the undesirable. You are wise. I enjoyed this post.

    • Rica Lewis
      October 15, 2015

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Uttley. It was a pleasure having you here 🙂

  • Dermot
    October 16, 2015

    Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than any critic would dare be! It’s hard to turn off that doubtful nagging voice and just trust in ourselves.

    • Rica Lewis
      October 16, 2015

      You’re so right, Dermot! Thanks for your input.

  • The London Dater
    December 10, 2015

    I can’t relate to this precise fear, but your thoughts on fear itself are spot on. If we think less about the future and just ACT, then fear disappears completely.

    Joe

    • Rica Lewis
      December 10, 2015

      Thanks Joe! You’re so right! Glad you stopped in to read and comment. 🙂

  • Katie Talk Less, Say More
    February 10, 2016

    Oh mean…fear. It haunts me in more ways that I’d care to admit.

    • Rica Lewis
      February 10, 2016

      Yup, Katie, same here. Hope you’re finding a way to overcome it. Thanks for stopping in.

  • Sandy Mangis
    February 10, 2016

    This is great. I am always looking to write ideas down. Writers block hasn’t quite happened for I am always reading and studying and that is what I write about. I start to see things in different ways and can’t wait to get them on paper. I never dreamed that I would be writing a blog one day, but it has become my therapy and my life and I am just in heaven.

    • Rica Lewis
      February 10, 2016

      Awesome, Sandy! Writing is so cathartic, and sharing our work is both frightening and exhilarating. Glad you decided to become a blogger and that you found some “heaven.” 🙂

  • Lizzi
    February 10, 2016

    I love that message, about your mind (well, allowing yourself to worry) being what creates your own suffering. I’m SO in that place today, and need to find a way to unhook and enjoy NOW. Which is something I’ve said repeatedly since about 8am, and still haven’t managed to DO!

    So! Here’s to figuring out that today is sufficient unto itself, and to try not to let the future sadnesses crowd in too hard. Thank you.

    • Rica Lewis
      February 10, 2016

      That’s the spirit, Lizzi! Thanks for reading. I hope you find the peace you need today. 🙂

  • Charlotte
    February 10, 2016

    I feel as though I could have penned your thoughts because here I am nodding along to everything you wrote. How very true this is. There’s nothing that keeps me up at night more than the fear that I will come short as a writer, that words will fail me, that I will be a failure at the one thing I love more than anything else in this world.

    I also <3 the concept of replacing negativity with positive reinforcements and wonderful messages instead. So could use more of this in my life and really appreciate the reminder 🙂 Thank you for this!

    • Rica Lewis
      February 10, 2016

      Wonderful, Charlotte! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad I could remind you of what you probably already knew: fear is a waste of our energy. 🙂

  • Bethany
    February 10, 2016

    Yes!! So great:) I’ve started writing on my phone whenever I feel the urge or think of something smart lol.

    • Rica Lewis
      February 10, 2016

      Ha ha. Bethany! Whatever works for you! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Kayla
    February 10, 2016

    Love that. False evidence appearing real! Thanks so much for sharing! I find myself in that boat ALOT lately.

  • Allie
    February 10, 2016

    I just LOVE your FEAR acronym! It is such truth. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Liv
    February 10, 2016

    Yes. I have fears too. But I work to surpass them.

  • Diana Auerhammer
    February 14, 2016

    Yes. I have journals and notebooks everywhere. I used to think I was out of control but have come to realize I need all those places to get the words down. Otherwise, my husband will lose it! The fear comes and goes. I can actually do some great writing in the evening while we sometimes do what I call “watching bad TV.” Sometimes. When the ideas come they come. Nice article!

    • Rica Lewis
      February 14, 2016

      Exactly, Diana! “When the ideas come, they come!”

  • Shari Eberts
    May 18, 2016

    Good for you! I find my yoga practice helps me sort it all out too.

  • Stacey W
    June 13, 2016

    Such amazing points. Completely agree!

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