The Dark Side of Writing: 3 Fears That Haunt Every Writer
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There’s a dark side to writing: Fears that we all face as authors, writers and creators. In this episode of the Writing Momentum podcast, Chris and Gena talk about the first three fears writers face: Writer’s Block, Rejection, and Failure. Join us and discover how to overcome these fears and get your writing done!
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episode 71 transcription:
[00:00:00] Christopher: Hello and welcome to the Writing Momentum Podcast. I'm Christopher Maselli, and I'm here with my wife Gena. [[00:00:13] Gena: Hi there. [[00:00:15] Christopher: Hey, how you doing Gena? [00:00:16] Gena: I'm doing well. I'm doing well. [[00:00:17] Christopher: Are you scared at all? [00:00:19] Gena: We're talking about these tough subjects. This is, we're calling it like the dark side of writing. And I think that, it's something we need to cover. It's something we need to talk about because it, I do not know a writer who doesn't struggle with at least one or two fears related to their writing. [00:00:40] Christopher: And probably more than that. In fact, when we were putting this together, we came up with 10 different fears that many of us face as writers. You may not face them all at once, hopefully, certainly not all at the same time. But certainly over your writing career, you will run into these kinds of fears, time and again. And [00:01:00] as you do, you want to know, first of all, you need to know that, this is common. You've chosen to be a writer and author, and in doing so, there are some challenges that you will face along the way. [00:01:11] Christopher: And we're here to tell you, you were not alone, that this is very common and that these are the kind of fears that you can overcome. And second, that's the second thing is that, hey, you can overcome all of these. None of these have to keep you stuck. And if you feel stuck by one of them, then please just know again, you're not in it alone. [[00:01:29] Christopher: And hopefully we can give you some tidbits of advice that could help you take that next step. [00:01:34] Gena: And I think that's the thing with fear is I think fear really grows and can really get a choke hold on any of us when it's left in the dark, when it's left unspoken. When you feel like you're the only one who feels this way. [00:01:48] Gena: When you feel that you are the oddball. And you, there's just something wrong with you because if you were more secure or stronger or fill [00:02:00] in the blank then somehow it wouldn't affect you. And that's just not true. And that's, I think of it like the darkness that you shine the light on it. [00:02:07] Gena: You shine the light on it, it loses its power. And that's what we wanna do today. We wanna shine the light on some of these things. Hopefully you will listen to some of these, cuz this is actually gonna be a three part series we're gonna do on the fears, the common fears that writers face. [00:02:23] Gena: So please come back and my hope is that you would look at those and as we're talking you might say, yeah, that's something I've dealt with. And Wow, I'm not alone. I'm not weird. I'm not, there's nothing wrong with me. And that by doing that, maybe it'll give you that strength to, to keep going. [00:02:44] Christopher: That's right. And you are not, again, you are not alone. Don't feel isolated if you start to feel isolated. And that's a good idea that maybe you're being subject to one of these fears and that hey, it's time to overcome it. Yep. So let's look at the first one. The first one we have talked about before. [00:02:57] Christopher: In fact, we talked about this fear. [00:03:00] This was episode two of the Writing Momentum podcast, which is writer's block. So many authors have this fear of being unable to write or create anything meaningful or good enough, and they get trapped in that. That feeling of, oh, I can't do this. And they sit down, they think they wanna write and just like nothing comes out. [00:03:23] Christopher: And it, I used to say there's no such thing as writer's block because the idea being, not that it doesn't really exist, cuz certainly we can all feel stuck, but that you can always break out of it. And I still believe that you can always break out of writer's block and a lot of times what it takes is just sitting down and writing. [00:03:41] Christopher: Even when you don't feel like it, even if the thing you're trying to write doesn't come out, that's okay. There have been times when I've been writing like a novel for young adults and I know something needs to happen in the next chapter and I'm stuck and I can't get any further. And then what I'll do is I'll just start [00:04:00] journaling for my day and I'll just start writing, or I'll start writing a short story about something else. [00:04:05] Christopher: Or I might even write a marketing piece for a website, right? Something that's just different. And in doing that, it starts getting that muscle loosening up and it starts breaking that fear off and you start realizing, hey, I can do this, and eventually that feeling of inspiration comes back. But, don't wait for the inspiration. Go ahead and put in the perspiration and get writing to break that writer's block. [00:04:28] Gena: Yes. I would also add to that, that, Chris and I talk a lot about how writing does not have to be a solitary endeavor. That it's something you can do with people. Now, clearly what we're not saying that you try to collaborate on a project you may or may not choose to do that. That's not what we're talking about. But writing in itself, the writing life is, it's got its own unique what it ebbs and flows. It's got its unique things to it. The unique emotions that you're [00:05:00] feeling, the unique projects that you're dealing with, the unique challenges that you're having to overcome. [00:05:04] Gena: And if you've got a solid group of people who understand that, that's just gonna be a beautiful thing to help you break through these, and I will honestly be pointing back to that throughout this entire series. Find yourself some writers that can help you with this. [00:05:24] Gena: If you don't know, we've got Writing Moments. We meet once a week on Wednesday mornings. You can go to writingmoments.com to find out more about that, but we meet together, we do co-writing and we start with a little bit of teaching. But I think one of the things that has really come out of that group is there is a comradery that is being built there with the writers. [00:05:45] Gena: Where we are celebrating each other's successes and people are feeling that they can come and bring questions to the group to say what about this? But even beyond that, there are writers groups in your [00:06:00] local areas that you can start with. You may start it yourself. You may, there may be one that's already there, but there may be one that you just start with yourself with just two or three friends in the area. [00:06:11] Gena: You sit at a coffee shop and you talk about different things, and I think sometimes also when you're talking about writer's block, just by brainstorming. Now, I will tell you, you start to brainstorm with a, you've got something going on, some project that you're working with, and you start to brainstorm. [00:06:28] Gena: You may not agree with the ideas that the other people are sharing with you, but that's not the point. The point is, like Chris said, you get those juices flowing. [00:06:36] Christopher: Yeah and that's the whole thing with meeting together, and that's the reason that you'd want to meet in a writer's group is because just that act of getting up and sitting in a different place or sitting at your computer, but turning on the webcam and writing together, that tends to break writer's block because you're in that you have that positive peer pressure that gets you writing. [[00:06:55] Christopher: All right. The next one is what? Gena. [[00:06:58] Gena: Oh, this is a big one. This is [[00:07:00] the big one, guys. Rejection. I do not know that you can, the only way you can get away from rejection in the writing world is if nobody ever sees what you write. [[00:07:14] Christopher: Yeah, rejection can come when you submit your article to an editor or an agent, right? [00:07:20] Christopher: It can come when you get negative feedback, right? If you're got your book on Amazon and all of a sudden someone gives you a one star, right? It can come just from not being published, from feeling like, oh, I don't have anything that's actually out there. That rejection, it can often stop writers in their path of writing. [00:07:40] Christopher: It can make them suddenly just feel like, Hey, what I've got just isn't good enough. It's very easy to go down that road. This is probably, other than a writer's block, one of the most common types of fear that writers face, and you know what the truth is, it's just part of the job. [00:07:56] Christopher: Rejection is part of it. You have to know it is going to happen, and you [00:08:00] have to ask yourself if you can develop a skin that's thick enough to make it through that rejection. Because if you can take a manuscript that gets rejected and just say, you know what? I'm gonna send it out again. [00:08:13] Christopher: I got rejected. That publisher didn't like it, but I'm gonna send it out again. Then you can be one of those stories, like you've heard about some of the very popular books that are out today that were rejected 20, 30, 40 times. [[00:08:24] Gena: Or over a hundred. [00:08:25] Christopher: Or over a hundred until someone finally got it. Right? And then they weren't rejected, they were accepted. [00:08:31] Christopher: And so sometimes that's just the way it is. And I think it's good to go into the writing life knowing that can just be part of it. Because then you'll know when you get rejected that, oh, hey, I got a rejection down. That's one step closer to getting accepted. [00:08:45] Gena: Yes I think you're right. I think. [00:08:48] Gena: Changing, shifting your focus a little bit, shifting your mindset with that and thinking, I'm gonna send this out. I'm sending it out for the first time, or I'm sending it out for the 10th time. Or whatever. [00:09:00] I'm gonna send it out. I believe it's really good. I've gotten feedback from other people that it's really good, but I know that I'm gonna send this out maybe 10, 20, 30 times to different places, and most of them are not gonna want it. That's just the truth of it. Most of the people are not gonna want it. Now here's the thing that you need to keep in mind though when you're thinking about that, is that each of these publishing houses, magazines, easings, whatever, that you're writing for, they all have unique voices. [00:09:33] Gena: They have unique audiences, they have unique readership and just who, where they're going, what they're trying to do, where they're focus is in the future. There's so many elements that you are not privy to. Now, some of that you can do your own research on. We have talked before, you need to do your due diligence before you submit someplace. [00:09:53] Gena: Don't submit something academic to Harlequin Romance. Don't do this [00:10:00] wild, just throw everything at the wall and hopefully somebody takes something. If you're writing science fiction, submit to the places that accept science fiction. [00:10:08] Gena: So you wanna do your due diligence to know where you're submitting it. But beyond that, recognize that writing is an art form, and there are going to be people that are going to understand what you're trying to say, and there are gonna be people that either don't understand it or it's just not their cup of tea. [00:10:28] Gena: And that's okay. [00:10:29] Christopher: Yeah, and that's where like a lot of the Amazon reviews and that sort of thing come in. It's better just not to read them, honestly. They don't do much for your ego and they can certainly just make you feel horrible if people don't like it. And the truth is, all you have to do is look, think of your favorite movie and look up the Rotten Tomato scores for it. [00:10:45] Christopher: And generally you're gonna find that there are a bunch of people both on the critic side and on the consumer side that just don't jive with that particular movie. And that doesn't mean that it's a bad movie, it just means that to those people, they didn't connect. [00:11:00] And everyone, of course, has a voice today. So it can be difficult because everyone's gonna say something. But don't let that make you feel rejected. [00:11:08] Gena: And the other thing I would just add with that is just to keep going. The more you submit, honestly, the more rejection you receive on that. I think the thicker your skin gets for that, don't you think? [00:11:18] Christopher: That's right? Yeah, absolutely. And the last fear I think we should talk about today is the fear of failure. A lot of us can run into this fear of, oh man, if I. It's almost, I think a subconscious fear where we think if we finish the book and it doesn't do well, or people don't like it or doesn't get the message across, that will have failed. [00:11:38] Christopher: And so it's very easy to then not finish the book, right? We just keep finding things that we need to edit in it, keep finding things we need to change, and instead. You know what? Just say it's good enough. I know it's good enough at this point, I'm gonna put it out there. And you know what? If you get your message out there, you're not failing. [00:11:55] Christopher: Now, you may not connect with as many people as you wanted. It may not work out exactly the [00:12:00] way you wanted, but that's where you just get up and start again. You say, okay, that one's done. I'm going on to the next one. And I think Gena and I can both attest to the fact that over, we've been doing this collectively for dozens and dozens of years, decades, and we have had many things that we have failed on, and we've had many things that we've had success on, and you just have to know that for everything you fail with, you're gonna have probably a whole handful of successes. It's just that sometimes those failures scream louder than the success does, right? [00:12:31] Christopher: You get that failure and it can stop you in your tracks. You get a success and you're kinda like, okay, good. I'm going to the next thing and not even realize that you haven't taken time to celebrate it. And yet we celebrate the failures, in a negative way. And that's exactly the opposite. [[00:12:46] Christopher: We should do it the opposite way around. We should be celebrating our successes and just ignoring the failures and going to the next thing. [00:12:52] Gena: And here's, I think, something that I have noticed along the way is that you get into this, Chris has said that we've [[00:13:00] been in this a long time. The things that you will look back on as the writer, that you will say, man, I am proud of that. Are not necessarily the things that sold the most or had the most readership. [[00:13:14] Christopher: For sure. [00:13:15] Gena: There are going to be some of those projects that you're just going to love. And you're going to know that they're really good. Yeah. And there's heart in them and they're just really powerful. And so it's not gonna be the thing that necessarily is, it's not, when that happens, it's not gonna matter. [00:13:36] Gena: How much other people are necessarily loving it, it's gonna be meaningful for you. [00:13:42] Christopher: Yeah, that's exactly right. And that's what's important. A lot of times when you talk to authors you'll say, wow, you've got so many books out, which one's your favorite? Often, their favorite is one that's rather obscure because it meant the most to them, not because they had the most commercial success. [00:13:58] Christopher: And just know that's the way it is [[00:14:00] sometimes. And again, celebrate the successes, not the failures. [00:14:03] Gena: And keep going. With all of these, you just keep going. You keep writing. If you're a writer, then you know that you've got something in you and you've got a write. So just keep going. [[00:14:13] Christopher: Exactly. [00:14:13] Gena: Don't stop. [00:14:14] Christopher: Hey, those are three fears that haunt every writer. We're gonna look at three more next week and three or four more the week after that until we cover every one of them. We'd love to hear what's one maybe that you struggled with or that we haven't thought of and maybe we can share some of those. [00:14:29] Christopher: We won't share your name but maybe we can share some of those and help other people. And if you enjoyed this podcast, hey, will you rate it and review it and subscribe to it and share it? Because by doing those things, it helps other people find this podcast. It helps them overcome these fears too. [[00:14:46] Christopher: Yes. All right. Remember, you are not in this alone because together what Gena? [[00:14:51] Gena: We have writing momentum. [[00:14:53] Christopher: Bye-bye.
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