Saturday, 3 September 2011


The other day I was reading Nadja Notariani's ROW 80 Check-in and she threw out a simple question which really struck a cord with me - 'What is your biggest apprehension in the writing/publishing process?'

My immediate answer which I actually spoke a loud was EVERYTHING.

Absolutely everything about this process terrifies me. Let me list some of my fears off the top of my head.

1) What if the plot is awful?
2) Are my characters wooden/unlikeable/annoying?
3) Will my dialogue make people cringe?
4) My grammar is appalling.
5) I will never finish my WIP.
6) I am going about this whole writing thing the wrong way.
7) If I finish my WIP no one will want to read it.
8) If they do read it they will hate it.

I don't think I am alone in having 'am I any good at writing/is there any point in trying?' thoughts. Surely it is natural to have these worries as we as writers are pouring out part of ourselves into every sentence we write. Our stories are our babies and sending them out in to the world is terrifying. When I have these thoughts I take a deep breath and reassure myself that I am doing something I always wanted to do. If it comes to nothing, at least I will have tried it. At least I (and you guys!) will know I tried and that is better than never attempting to fulfil a dream.
Even if my writing comes to nothing and is simply something I do for me I will have gained so much. I will have gained a sense of achievement. I will gained a way to switch off from my day job that lets me express myself. Most importantly I will have gained new friends from all over the world. Friends who support me and encourage me, who make me laugh and make my well up with their kindness (yep, I'm a crier!). Friends who understand me and I think that is pretty amazing.
So from now on I am not going to focus on the fear. I am going to focus on writing, fun and the people I am meeting in this crazy writing/blogging world. What will be will be.
You can see Nadja's blog with the question that sent me off into a spiral of contemplation here -
Also, Nadja's debut novel 'Claiming the Prize' was released yesterday and on her blog there is a coupon so you can buy it FREE this weekend at Smashwords! Go get it! I have and I look forward to reading it!


  1. Em!
    Great post. Every fear on your list - I've experienced at one time or another. You are doing the right thing to shelve it/them and move forward.
    Last night, we were out celebrating with friends, and one of them reminded me to focus on something I had left by the wayside at some point on this journey. "If you only sell twenty books - just twenty - you'll have sold more books than everyone in this room. You'll also still be a published author, which is more than I can say." It was a powerful reminder for me to remember why I'm doing this. I love writing! I love stories! And so do you...
    Thanks for the shout out! And thank you, Em, for all the support you offer each week.

  2. Oh gosh, I feel like you totally read my mind. Each and every item on this list plagues me, sometimes so intensely that I am paralyzed and completely unable to write. I harbor a similar list of fears about my thesis as well, and it can make for some terrible, anxiety-ridden days.

    I LOVE your list of reasons why this is worthwhile, and again, I agree with all of them. I was stressing a little over the pen name, but I realized that it actually makes me feel freer about what I write and blog about. It helps me to separate the day job part of my life from my writing world, and it really helps me to feel like this is fun.

    Sure, maybe I have dreams of self-publishing or maybe getting an agent or something, and okay, that'll make it sorta like a job. But I made myself promise when I started writing again that I was going to focus on the fun, and that if it ever starts to feel like a burden, I need to walk away and rethink my priorities. I want to give my imagination the freedom to soar, and I want to luxuriate in that feeling of ideas tumbling forth. The act of creation profoundly amazes me, and I think it's good for us to harness that feeling and the high that comes with it.

  3. Thank you for stopping by ladies! Your question just struck me Nadja and I felt it was time I voice my fear so I can GET OVER IT! You two are constant support for me so thank you so much. It is so nice to feel understood!

  4. Anytime, Chickie! And I like the idea of giving voice (or type in this to the fear to get over it. ~ Nadja

  5. Ohhhh, yes, this! That entire list is constantly dancing in and out of my brain, so you are certainly not alone in that fact.

    But your statement "Even if my writing comes to nothing and is simply something I do for me I will have gained so much" is also what I constantly remind myself of when those feelings start to creep in. I'm a huge advocate of writing for myself. I write because I love to write. I write because it's what makes me happier than anything else in the world. And if that's all it is, that's more than what a lot of people have, and anything else that comes from it (friends, publishing, fans, success....) will all just be added awesome bonuses!

  6. Awesome post, Em! I think I've had all of those same fears (and still do for some, plus quite a few more). I agree with L.S. on the statement "Even if...", wonderfully written :)

  7. You've said what so many of us feel, and said it beautifully. We have to focus on writing and brush the fear aside as much as we can. Although I hesitate to brush aside any feelings. Everything I feel makes me a better writer.