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Fears of Creative Writing: Which Is Yours?

Here is an opinion post. I found that quite a few writers stop writing in the middle and some don’t start writing at all for the fear of writing. Do you feel any such fear? Comment your opinions here.

The major fears I can think of myself are these:

1. Fear of not being able to write well: Do you have a role model? Someone like Salman Rushdie, whom you love and respect? You may well be apprehensive that you may never write remotely as well as your favorite writer.

2. Fear to start the novel: Where should you start the novel? You will keep thinking of a hundred different ways to start the novel analyzing the possibility success with each.

3. Fear of the plot, writer’s block: As I said, and yes, most writers would say, you shouldn’t start a novel with a plot pre-thought. You should let the characters decide where to lead the story. But this can be quite a terror to writers, who feel that they will surely stop at some point of the plot without any idea as to how to progress. Here are some tips to fight writer's block.

4. Fear for the finish: Yes, the climax of the novel is the most important thing about it. If you have a great novel with a lousy climax, you will sell half as many copies as you will with a great one. Surely, a good cause for fear.

5. Fear that the novel will be outdated: Some writers even fear that the theme they choose will get outdated by the time the novel gets finished. Yes, of course it will if you write it in 20 years, trudging out of fear.

6. Fear that you will alienate a group of readers: Alienation is inevitable and hence this fear is irrational. You cannot create a novel that will be appealing to every single person in the world, and so can’t you create a novel that will be appealing to none.

7. Fear that the reception will be lukewarm: This fear can really destroy the dreams of most writers. To fight it, you may just believe that your novel will not sell one single copy. Then each hundred sales will be return of honeymoon to you.

8. Fear for the friends and your agent: Some of you might fear as to what your agent, the editor, or your friends might think about your novel. Might they be laughing at you behind your back?

Are there other fears in your mind? Feel free to share them here, and make this a discussion thread. Only thing to remember is that none of these fears should detain you from writing your work. They exist there only to make you brave.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


  1. My fear is that my grammar and structure will never be quite good enough. I was told by a professional editor that my grammar was not good enough to get published by a professional magazine. I really need to work on making it better. I am not intuitively grammatical. I don't follow the rhythm of the average speaker, so it is not natural for me to place my grammar marks where they are supposed to go.

  2. Indeed, quite a few peole hold this fear for their grammar. Some people suggest using a professional editor to proofread your work before sending out to the agent.

  3. Hi! Dropping by from Blog catalog, noticed your note in my shoutbox :)

    Just 5 years ago, attempting to be a writer was the last thing on my mind. Why? Well, I read, no, consume, books like there's no tomorrow, and five years ago, I'd be perusing the fantasy section of the bookstore looking for something, anything to read (no library handy, so I had to fork out the $$, so I needed to be sure about what I was purchasing!)... despite all those books on the shelves, maybe 20% invited me to pick them up to explore further. One day I stepped back and wondered, if I ever made it to the step of having a novel published, how oh how would anyone notice it among all the other books there?? So I suppose that would be related to Fear #7?

    Right now, I consider myself a wannabe writer, and it's procrastination that's holding me back. Okay, that and the [fear] that the plot isn't good enough. But really, I can't make that judgment until I've got it all out,,, during the last NaNo I started on my idea but dropped out when I realised I had lots of plotholes and details I needed to get straight... this year the tale's fleshed out much better in my head... hopefully it'll get written this month.. then we'll see about the good enough thing :)

  4. And this is why I'm doing NaNo this month, despite my blogging and schoolwork and whatnot... when else am I going to have ten friends all peer pressuring me into writing even when the going gets tough? I'm maybe 4000 words behind right now, but it's a great incentive when people yell at you when you're just not producing the quantity that you need to pick out the quality.

  5. #1 and #2 are my two biggest stumbling blocks. I really enjoy getting lost working on a larger work, but I have a lot of trouble getting started, because I'm kinda obsessed with finding the perfect opening. I've taken to starting in the middle of things and putting off the introduction to the story until later.


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