Does this sound familiar? You write a chapter, or a book, or an article. You are typing away and you feel very confident about your work. You feel like words are flowing out of you. You feel as though you have tapped into true and pure prose. Then, when it comes time to turn in your work of genius it all seems so trivial and outdone. Suddenly the work you were so proud of now seems so trite. Are you breaking out in a sweat now just thinking about? It’s ok. Take a deep breath. We have all been there. And by “we” I mean EVERY single person who wrote anything that was going to be published in any fashion. And by “have” I mean every single time you write anything ever.
I can't tell you how many authors have said to me after submitting their final manuscript, “I’m so scared to do this.” When I ask why, their answer is always the same: “I just feel like I could have done things differently. I could have made it better. Is this normal?” The answer is yes, yes it is. Not only is it normal, it is universal. You are not alone in feeling this way. But, are you using this fear to grow? Or, are you letting it hinder your writing?
The thing is, we all believe that our work is no good at times. We read it and think, “Someone is going to pay for this?” Or, “Why would anyone spend their time reading this drivel?” We compare ourselves to authors we love and say, “Well, I’m no Fitzgerald, so why even try?” But even Fitzgerald wondered about whether or not his writing was good enough, it’s the curse of the writer, but he never let that fear get in the way of his work. He never threw in the towel, and that is the lesson to be learned here.
If you let your fear that your writing sucks dictate what you write, when you write, and if you write at all, well then, you’re not really a writer. You have to harness this fear, let it drive you, instead of reign over you. Yes, there will be people who don't like your writing; that’s ok. I’m sure there is writing out there that you don't care for either. The point is not to write things that everyone will love. The point of writing is to tell a story. If you have a story or a message that the world needs to hear, then you need to write it.
Surround yourself with professionals who will tell you when your work is ready. This is what editors and publishers are for. We are here to help you with this; we wouldn't lie to you and publishing something that wasn't good. You have to trust these people in your life, take a deep breath, and let your baby bird fly when the time comes. Don't worry, it will be able to soar on its own. We promise.
Do you experience doubt and fear when you submit your writing? Share with us in the comments section below.