What to Do When You’re Afraid to Write

One. Two. Three. Go! 

I am afraid to write because…..

Go ahead. I’m giving you permission. Actually, I’m outright asking you. Grab a paper, write the words above and then fill that sucker with every single thought that comes pouring into your head. Let your brain cry, fret, and air out all those fears and worries that it sends up whenever you decide to try and write that book again. It’s time to stop shoving your poor mind into a closet where its cries and bangs are stifled while you stare down a blank page – and it’s time to stop shoving those pages away and letting your brain out to talk you back into the world of common sense.

I can’t possibly write because….

Did you write it? Do it. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Seriously. Everything your brain tells you goes onto the page. Don’t worry. You can burn it later.

There. Don’t you feel better? Your brain does. Look at it over there, panting – speechless for once – and blinking in surprise at being heard. Your heart, on the other hand, might be pounding a bit harder at your brain’s exposure. Don’t worry. We’re going to take care of that, too.

Now, look at those fears all across the page. Do you see how similar some of them are? I filled two pages with fears: I found they all could be covered under four categories.

Do you know what this means? For all the rants, raves, and complaints my head bombarded me with, it really only had four fears.

Four fears are much easier when they are stated in one sentence than hurled at me in a thousand different ways.

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Want to know a secret? Now that you’ve boiled down your fears, you might just find that some of them – or all of them – are actually lies.

5 Questions to Ask When You are Afraid to Write

“Is this a fact? Is this a feeling?”

A feeling is a statement that feels true but isn’t. “I will never be able to finish a book” is a feeling. “I have never finished a book,” is a fact.

Could this ever NOT be true?

You have never finished a book, but you could with a few minor lifestyle changes. Remember, even 500 words a day could give you a draft in six months to a year.

Most of your feelings will fall into this category. They feel true, but they are not. You could actually do the thing that you feel like you can’t if you came up with appropriate actions. But what happens if you have one that is absolutely always true? Rewrite it as a fact – and relax. Even unchangeable fears have a solution.

Can I Use the Magic Word?

You’ve heard it in a thousand excuses, and perhaps a few lack-luster apologies: “I”m sorry, but…” or “I want to, but…”

The word “but” usually carries a bad connotation. It feels like an excuse or something immediately retracted. This word, though, is magical. When you attach the word “but” to any negative statement, it transforms it into a positive affirmation.

Try it. Take your statement and add “but.” Your mind will find the truth.

“I don’t know how to do this, but I can learn.”

“My manuscript was rejected, but it can be revised and resubmitted.”

“I’m too busy to write, but I can find a way to prioritize it.”

See what I mean?

Now let’s look at your facts.

A feeling would be, “I can never make money, no matter how hard I work.” A fact would be, “I have five dollars in my bank account.” This is a true, real-world problem and no positive affirmation is going to fix it. So what do you do when reality is hitting you in the head?

Can I change what I am afraid of?

If you answer is “no” this absolutely can never be changed, go back and use the word “but” to create a positive spin on it. You can find one. Yes, you can.

However, very few things in the world cannot be changed. If you find that your answer is “Yes, I could technically change this” ask your mind, “how?”

Your mind is not your enemy. Your mind is programmed to look out for you. When it tells you not to do something, it’s acting as an over-protective parent. It’s your job to recognize and bridle its hyper-awareness of all the possibilities with common sense.

So engage your mind and use the problem-solving skills to your advantage: what needs to happen in order for you to turn this negative circumstance into a positive action to change it? Command your mind to find a solution and it will shock you with what it comes up with.

compass-2925824_1920.pngNow you’ve gotten your fears out of your head and onto paper. You’ve grouped them into basic fear categories. And you’re turned each negative fear into a positive thought. So what is the point of doing all this work? Your mind is like a compass and it will go in the direction of your thoughts. When you imagine scenarios, you are telling it the way you want it to act. Your mind thinks in pictures and doesn’t know the difference between positive and negative pictures. It will find a way to create the picture you are feeding it, so make sure you are dwelling on what you want and not what you don’t want.

We’ve covered a lot, and you may be feeling a bit confused. Keeping track of thoughts is hard! Here is a chart to help guide you through dismantling and recreating each fear that you have. If you would like to print it out, you can find a full page on the resource pages here.

Stage to Page - Truth Map

This may be a challenge, but it will make a huge difference in your life and writing career. It’s worth the doing!

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