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I'm Kate Risheill. Welcome to my blog on writing.

Confronting Your Writing Fears

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You all probably know this by now, but I recently attended my first writing conference (and wrote about the experience here). The conference was a great experience for me and helped me to gain some new insights into my writing, as well as to face some of my writing fears.  And trust me, I have plenty of them.

Writers are, I think, more prone than most to imposter syndrome and self-doubt. We are an introspective bunch, always making up stories in our own heads, doubting those choices, and then rewriting them. It can definitely feel like everyone else is a better writer than you, that they are all so much further in their careers than you are. That kind of fear can be really paralyzing. 

I'd mentioned in my post about the conference that I pitched my project to an agent and workshopped one of my characters during one of the three-day seminar sessions. It was absolutely terrifying. I think, if it had not gone well, it could have been something that destroyed any confidence I had in my writing, perhaps forever. If the response to my ideas and my work had been negative, it would have been terrible. Fortunately, everyone was really supportive. They shared ideas to help make my work even better, but no one disparaged it.

Of course, writers need to develop a thick skin when it comes to criticism, but it can be difficult when you are first starting out. I'm sure that Stephen King isn't bothered by some random person on the internet calling his work garbage, but I certainly would be. Writers who are unpublished, who are just starting out, don't have any external validation to calm their fears or to make it feel like their writing is worth continuing. 

It is going to sound like garbage, but I think you do need to believe in yourself a bit. If writing is something that you are passionate about, that you spend a lot of time doing, keep pushing. That doesn't mean writers should ignore all criticism or that they don't need to take anyone's advice ever, but that you need to give yourself a little push sometimes. A push to keep writing, a push to attend a conference, a push to pitch an agent, or a push to start querying. I don't know if the fear ever goes away. Frankly, I'm not the right person to answer that question, but I do think that getting involved in the writing community and being around other writers can help. I've never received so much encouragement or positive feedback as I did at my first writing conference. All of this rambling goes to say that sometimes you need to tell that little voice in your head full of doubt and fear to shut the fuck up.

7 Things I Learned at My First Writing Conference

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