Solution Saturday: I’m Afraid of Failing


You love writing. Even if you’re not the best, you just love sitting down and playing with words. So why all of a sudden, the second you get a new idea for a story unlike anything you’ve ever tried writing before, are you so afraid to sit down and start writing it?

The truth is, you’re afraid of failing. Afraid that you’ll start and won’t finish, that you’ll finish and it won’t be publishable, that it will get published but everyone will hate it.

Being afraid to fail is a roadblock that spans across many different disciplines. It’s normal to hesitate for fear of falling short of your own expectations. But don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love. Here are three ways you might be able to overcome your latest creative barrier. 

Solution 1: Ask yourself why the idea is important to you 

We’re constantly bombarded with ideas. The ones that really stick out to us, the ones we just can’t seem to get out of our heads, mean something special to us. And it’s not just a coincidence, either. If you can’t get it out of your head, it’s probably because there’s something significant about it that appeals to you enough to want to expand upon it.

If you have an idea but are afraid it won’t go anywhere, take a few moments to work out why it matters to you personally. Do you have a specific message you really want to get across to a group of people? Do you have a story to tell that reflects personal experiences you really want to share? If it’s important to you for a good reason, it’s worth taking further, even if it does come to a dead end.

Solution 2: Choose someone you know to be your “motivation”

If you lack confidence in your ability to start, work on, finish, revise and/or publish your work, you might just be unintentionally overwhelming yourself thinking about the hundreds of thousands of people who may or may never read your story. If you can’t write for a thousand, for a hundred, for ten—just write for one.

You could even work this method into your dedication. “I’m writing this for so-and-so.” Choose someone close to you, someone you know will love and appreciate your hard work and effort even if you don’t ever actually finish. But maybe focusing on that one person, if you can’t stop yourself from thinking of your audience outside of writing the actual story, will make it easier for you to push forward even when you’re worried about never making it as far as you hope to someday. 

Solution 3: Accept that the only way to fail at writing a story is to never start writing it 

There isn’t a story out there that can really be considered a failure. If it has a beginning, middle and end, some characters, a plot and a problem that eventually gets resolved, it’s still a story. Some stories are better than others, but that doesn’t mean one story is a failure in comparison to one that’s more successful.

If you think of it that way, the only way to really fail at writing something is to never even give it a chance. We learn something new from each story, poem, article, book, etc., that we write. You’re never going to acquire the experience and skills you might need to avoid failure if you never allow yourself to learn from your shortcomings and mistakes.

It’s also important to remember that just because you have an idea doesn’t mean you’re required to tell people about it. If you are anxious to start working on a project but aren’t ready to talk about it until you’re more confident, you don’t have to. Sharing ideas can be beneficial, but don’t let that alone kill your creative productivity if you don’t want to. It’s okay to keep it to yourself for a while.

Failure is a part of the life of a writer the same way it’s a part of life in general. The important thing is that you’re able to convince yourself to go for it—and know that if you do take a tumble, you will get back up again, and your love for writing will not abandon you no matter how many times you think it has.

Just do it. Be brave. Sure, you might fail. But there’s also a chance you might succeed, too.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Five Things You’re Not Doing as an Aspiring Writer, but Should Be


So you want to be a writer. Excellent. You’ve found the perfect place to learn all about how to do that. Let’s start with the basics, shall we?—things you’re not really doing all that often, but should be, if you want to write professionally someday.

 1. Jotting down ideas

In any given day, thought after thought after thought will cross your mind so fast you’ll probably miss a good portion of them. Every once in a while you’ll have a thought that quickly morphs into an idea, and more often than not, that idea will quadruple in size, block out all other thoughts, and consume you until you simply can’t ignore it anymore. The only way to get rid of it without actually tossing it out is to write it down somehow. On a piece of paper, on your phone—somewhere you won’t lose it, and can refer back to later.

 2. Connecting with other aspiring writers

Sometimes writing can get lonely, no matter how many characters you have to keep you company. There are plenty of reasons to engage with other writers, whether online or in person. Sharing ideas can be a powerful asset to everyone involved, and sometimes, talking about writing with other writers is a lot less frustrating than trying to explain to your non-writer friends why you sit at your computer and talk to yourself (it’s not you, it’s the voices).

 3. Reading

Why must writers read? Well, why must a violinist listen to other violinists? Why do theatre nerds love going to see shows? You have to know not only what’s going on in your desired industry; you should enjoy it, too. And it’s likely you probably already do. The more you read, the more inspired you’ll be, and the more different types of genres you read, the more versatile you can make your own work.

 4. Listening to podcasts (about everything)

There are podcasts out there on pretty much every topic you can think of. That means there are thousands of ideas discussed via podcasts daily—and the more you listen to them, the more of them you’ll here. Back to the whole inspiration factor. Sometimes hearing another successful person talk about their success is enough to convince you to put your own aspirations front and center for a little while. Whether you’re in it for the information or the entertainment, or both, listening can help you more than you think.

 5. Writing

This one might seem obvious, but it’s actually pretty easy, and completely unintentional, for someone to dream of becoming a writer without ever actually acting on it. Writing is something you can’t get better at, or have any hope of succeeding in, unless you physically sit down and do it. It doesn’t even have to be a full story or even make sense. Just write something. Anything. Everyone starts somewhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s not very good. You’ll get there.

It’s never too early or too late to dive into the wondrous world of writing. Everyone enters at their own risk, and few regret it. The most important thing to remember is that, in the grand scheme of things, writing success isn’t measured by how many pieces of writing you publish. At least here at Novelty Revisions, we measure success by how willing you are to give this writing thing a try.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s do it. Let’s get to writing.

Image courtesy of Flickr.