Writers vs Fear: How to Conquer Your Inner Demons
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It’s us as writers versus FEAR…but we can conquer those inner demons! In this episode of the Writing Momentum podcast, Chris and Gena talk about three more fears writers face: Self-doubt, Vulnerability, and Running Out of Ideas. Join us and discover how to overcome these fears and get your writing done!
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episode 72 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. [[00:00:12] Gena: Gena Maselli. [[00:00:14] Christopher: How you doing Gena? [00:00:15] Gena: I'm doing well. [00:00:16] Christopher: We are in the middle of a series on writers versus Fear, right? And today we're gonna talk about how to conquer your inner demons. Last time we talked about facing the fears of writer's block and rejection and failure, and those are all fears that we all face as writers. And it was really such an interesting thing to talk about because these are universal fears that we all have, aren't they? [00:00:39] Gena: They are, and they're very universal for writers in general. That we have to deal with this. This is part of our life and, there's the cost of doing business. If you're in the business world, there's the cost of doing business. There's just some things that you have to deal with, bills that you have to pay if you are in certain fields. [00:00:58] Gena: And for us, [00:01:00] unfortunately those bills can be emotional bills that we have to pay and that we have to just deal with dealing with that writer's block, dealing with that rejection, dealing with that fear of failure. So we're gonna talk about three more today. [00:01:14] Christopher: That's right. So that we can become debt free when it comes to fear. [[00:01:18] Gena: Debt free of fear. There you go. [[00:01:20] Christopher: This is the day of Ramsey series of podcasts. [00:01:24] Gena: The first one we're talking about today is just. Self-doubt. [00:01:27] Christopher: This is so common. I think, and I don't know that there's any way around this because sooner or later you're going to be writing something that you're going to wonder. [00:01:36] Christopher: Can I actually write this thing right? Is this too difficult? Am I do I know enough to write it? Am I able to do I just, can I physically at this time write this piece? Because it's just life gets difficult, right? You it gets filled with other things and it's just that fear of not being good enough, of not being talented [[00:02:00] enough. [00:02:00] Christopher: Of not being experienced enough to write or create something that's meaningful. [00:02:06] Gena: Definitely. It's something that we all have to deal with. We all have to push through. And here's the thing that you may become super talented. You may be a blogger. And you're super talented. You could write those blogs in your sleep. [00:02:20] Gena: All of a sudden you decide to take that blog and turn it into a book, and the next thing that fear of, is it good enough? Comes back. And so you've gotta push through with that. So as you write and as you go into different types of writing, maybe you are really confident about your fiction writing. [00:02:42] Gena: But all of a sudden you have to write that back liner. You have to write the blurbs, and all of a sudden you're feeling really uncertain about it because it's a new style of writing that you're having to do. So probably the best way that you can conquer this is just with [[00:03:00] experience being patient with yourself and getting that training. [[00:03:03] Gena: Continuing to get training and being vulnerable enough to get that training. [00:03:09] Christopher: That always helps. That'll boost your confidence. It'll help you see that. Okay, now I know how to do this. And also I think this may seem funny to say, because one of the things that we would say is to never compare yourself to others, right? [00:03:23] Christopher: We always tend to compare ourselves with other people, and you really shouldn't do that when it comes to your writing. That said, sometimes maybe you should compare yourself to others. Here's what I mean. There is always someone that doesn't know as much as you do about the topic that you're writing about, right? [00:03:44] Christopher: And so if you compare yourselves to that person and say, I do have something to offer that person, it may not be, everyone is a whole all the time. But if you can take what you know and say, this is good enough [00:04:00] to be able to teach someone who doesn't know the next step, then just teach that next step. [00:04:06] Christopher: And that can be enough, right? There are times, that I teach on very technical things and I do that even here with writing momentum. I might teach you how to use mailer lite, for instance, the email platform. Now there are people out there who know way more about mailer lite than I do, but I also recognize that there are a lot of writers who don't know anything about mailer lite and they just want to have someone break it down for them in a way that they can understand. [00:04:33] Christopher: So even though I may not be the ultimate Mailer lite guru, I know enough to be able to break it down and teach it to someone who doesn't know anything or who's ready just to take that next step. And sometimes that's all it's about. And that can help extinguish that self-doubt by just realizing, Hey, I know more than someone else and what I'm about to write can help them. [00:04:54] Gena: It sounds to me like you're saying that we need to stay in our lane, so our lane may be, [00:05:00] that we are just helping that beginner in a certain process. But that's where we're gonna start and we're just not going to compare ourselves to the Silicon Valley tech people. Which, here's the newsflash, just because somebody is really knowledgeable about a certain topic does not necessarily mean that they can teach that topic in a way that is accessible to everyone. So if you bring that to the party, it really is something special. [00:05:31] Gena: And what would you say to the fiction writer who's dealing with that self-doubt? [00:05:35] Christopher: To the fiction writer, I would say push through it and keep writing, because a lot of times those things can work themselves out in the whole of the piece. You may feel like, I don't know where to go with this. [00:05:45] Christopher: I don't know if I can finish this chapter, it's just too hard. You're feeling all that self-doubt and that's okay. Just write the thing, right? It may be horrible. It may be a really bad first draft. That's okay. Everything gets [[00:06:00] better in the next draft, and so go ahead and get it down. [[00:06:02] Christopher: Continue on with the work, and you can always go back, do a little more research and improve that piece later. [00:06:08] Gena: I think that's where, for me it has been helpful to get even more training. And to get training from different people. Because sometimes one person has one technique or one specialty or one area that they're really good at, and then all of a sudden you start getting training from another person. [00:06:26] Gena: You hear some of the same information, but you hear it in a little bit different way. And so that learning helps you refine your own process. So I think that's that seems to be a helpful thing there. [[00:06:38] Christopher: And as you refine the process, then we get back to the initial point you made where experience can make a big difference. [00:06:44] Christopher: As you go ahead and create your own experience. Even if it's not good for that round, that's okay. You're going to get better and that will eliminate the self-doubt more. [00:06:55] Gena: And I will say, as you're talking, I can't even count the number of [00:07:00] fiction writers that I know who have said, yeah, my first manuscript was a mess and it's sitting in my drawer. [00:07:07] Gena: It never got published. It was 700 words of me just rambling. Or my story didn't really come together, or there were so many holes in it, or it just didn't work. But that was just practice for the next version, the next story that they began to write, the next novel, and it became much more refined. [[00:07:25] Gena: They became a better writer through that process. [[00:07:28] Christopher: Absolutely. Alright, so the next one is... [[00:07:31] Gena: The next one is being vulnerable. [[00:07:34] Christopher: Yes. Being vulnerable. [00:07:34] Gena: And I can definitely relate to this one. I have written some things before where I've written devotionals, devotion books, daily meditations, that kind of thing where I've had to share some of my personal failures and some of my personal stories that were not super positive about me and just being vulnerable with my weaknesses and putting that out there. And so... [00:07:59] Christopher: That's especially [00:08:00] hard to do in today's world because everyone has an opinion about what you do, right? And so you put out that vulnerable story and you expose yourself to criticism, to judgment, to what others think and just feel that they are compelled to share. They might do it on an Amazon review. They might even do it on a podcast where they're going to talk about what they read that you wrote. And that can be just a very difficult thing to have to read that and see what someone else's take on what you wrote is. [00:08:30] Gena: So we're really talking about two different sides of this coin. Because we're talking about the vulnerability of writing something like a nonfiction piece. That maybe is speaking from your own personal experience, your own weaknesses or your own failures that you're gonna share. But then there's also the vulnerability of getting, again, feeding into that rejection of somebody who may not like what you wrote or someone who you feel like you just poured your heart out into this book or this series or [00:09:00] whatever, and someone's going to come along and in 10 minutes give you their quarterback, what is that armchair quarterback opinion about it. And sometimes they may not even understand what you were trying to do. [00:09:12] Gena: I've certainly even worked with editors and things that didn't necessarily understand what my goal was, but that just told me that I needed to work a little bit harder to connect all the dots. But yeah, there's a certain amount of fear of being vulnerable in all of this that I think the thing with the vulnerability fear is that, it becomes less paralyzing the more you write. [00:09:37] Gena: I think it becomes more, first of all, don't, I don't know that you should read all the comments and all the reviews and everything. [[00:09:45] Christopher: Never read the comments, the positive or negative. [00:09:47] Gena: Just don't feed on the positive because. That's probably not the truth. Don't feed on the negative. You're probably somewhere in the middle. There's always areas that we can improve on as writers. But [[00:10:00] just as you do this, you just get that thicker skin. [00:10:03] Christopher: Yeah, you certainly do. And remember that in today's environment too, just being vulnerable is actually something that people can connect with. [00:10:13] Christopher: And even though you'll have people that may criticize you or judge you. Sometimes that's the thing that can set you apart because people will, identify with you when you are vulnerable and they will see that thing sometimes in themselves, it can be a connection point. [00:10:31] Christopher: And it doesn't matter if other people don't get you. Sometimes that criticism is actually can work to your benefit because others will see that, hey, this is something I identify with. And it doesn't just have to be a nonfiction piece. Remember? You can be vulnerable in your fiction pieces because a lot of us have written fiction pieces that have vulnerable personal stories that we fed on in order to write that fiction piece. [00:10:58] Christopher: And so vulnerability [00:11:00] happens in pretty much anything you write. And I think the more real you can be, really the more successful you'll probably be with it. [00:11:07] Gena: And I think that's just kind of part of being a creative type. Think of the painters who paint and then put their work out and some people may not understand it or they may not like it, or they may be the rabid fan that you're dealing with. There's just, with all of the creative process, there's going to be a certain amount of vulnerability. With it that we as writers have to push through. [00:11:30] Christopher: So the third inner demon that we wanna talk about today is running out of ideas. And this I often see most expressed from writers who might share their manuscript like with me or with Gena, but they say, don't show this to anyone. Because they feel like this is their one good idea and they're concerned that if it gets out there and someone might steal it, then they have nothing left to contribute. [00:11:59] Christopher: [00:12:00] And the truth is you are not going to run out of ideas. Remember, that idea that you had is a great idea and there's plenty more where that came from. Don't feel concerned about running out of ideas. I will tell you as someone who's written solve it yourself mysteries for nearly 20 years now, all the time I face this demonn of running out of ideas you think. [00:12:24] Christopher: Oh man, I don't know what in the world the next mystery could be. I have covered every mystery I can possibly think of. And you know what? Little brainstorming, a little bit of putting that nose to the grindstone and something else comes up every time. You are a creative person, you have plenty of ideas and don't be fearful about running out and using up all your good ideas. [[00:12:47] Christopher: Go ahead and take your best idea and run with it today, because another one will be just around the corner. [00:12:53] Gena: Definitely. And I would even say, I hope that you have some kind of journal that you keep your ideas in, whether [00:13:00] that's a hard copy journal or whether it's something on your computer or whether it's in your phone, whatever. Just keep those ideas, you see something that sparks something and you wanna write it down. You wanna keep track of it. Those can be gold mines for you to come back and look at later and to just get that creativity going again. So I think the whole idea of losing or running out of ideas, not having another good one. [00:13:25] Gena: It's a little bit like writer's block. I think it's that feeling that I won't be able to do anything more than this, and that's just not true. Even if you tackle a topic that other people have tackled before. Your take on it, your perspective. [[00:13:42] Christopher: Your unique perspective. [00:13:43] Gena: Your uniqueness is going to come out. And so there's different ways of approaching that. This is a fear that really is more in our own heads, which a lot of this is, but this one is really in our own heads. And when we really start thinking about it, sometimes we can be harder on [00:14:00] ourselves than we are on other people, and we can speak more harshly to ourselves than we would ever speak to someone if you sat down and met a new writer for coffee. And you sat down and they said, I'm just so scared I never have another good idea. What would you say to that person? You would say, are you kidding? I bet if we sat here and brainstormed, you could come up with five great ideas just off of what we talk about in this hour long coffee session. [00:14:25] Gena: But somehow when we get in our own heads, we can become our worst critic and this kind of self-fulfilling negative prophecy starts happening of, oh, I'll never be any good. I'll never be any better. I'll never have another good idea. That was my only one. [[00:14:42] Gena: I will say also that I think a lot of these kinds of fears become less prominent or less powerful when you do have a group of writers that you can kick ideas off of one another. And whether that is [[00:15:00] online or whether that is an actual group in your area that you go to, I know a lot of libraries have groups that meet or whether you start one. Just different things like that. [00:15:10] Gena: By getting together with other writers, there's something magical that happens [00:15:15] Christopher: That's why we, we have this tagline for these podcasts where we say, together we have writing momentum. What that means is you don't have to be isolated as a writer. There is this thought that as writers, we are very isolated people that we go into our writing room or a writing closet, right? Sit down with our laptops and we are just in our own world and that is the way we introverted writer's work and that, I think that has been a something that a lot of writers have had to face and feel like that's just the way it is. That's just one of the troubles I have to have, that I have to work through as a writer. [00:15:52] Christopher: And the truth is no, you are not alone in this. That's why we do this podcast is to remind you, you are not alone. You do not have to be [00:16:00] isolated. It's together that we have writing momentum By talking about these kinds of things, you can realize, hey, We are all in this together, and that's why we started writing moments. [00:16:10] Christopher: If you wanna find out about that, go to writing moments.com and you'll see that this is a co-writing group where we write together on a weekly basis every Wednesday for about one hour. We have a small teaching and then we write together. And it's just a way that we can encourage one another and we're writing on our individual pieces, but it's just saying, hey, we're doing this together, we're not in this alone. And so do check that out. [00:16:33] Christopher: But Self-doubt, being vulnerable, running out of ideas. Those are demons that you can face and stand up against and know that they can't conquer you. Same with what we talked about last week with writer's block, rejection and failure. We're gonna talk about three more next week. [00:16:47] Christopher: Because this has been such a good series. If you've enjoyed it, will you please rate and review these episodes and let others know how much they've helped you? If you've thought of one that maybe we haven't covered. Go ahead and leave a note for us [00:17:00] and the comments. Go to writing momentum.com and you'll see we've got all these podcasts on blogs there, and you can write in the comments and let us know what you think. [[00:17:08] Christopher: But until next time, remember, you are not in this alone because together. [[00:17:13] Gena: We have writing momentum. [[00:17:15] Christopher: Bye-bye.
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