Lesson 2 of 17
In Progress

Your Fears and Anxieties

What stands in the way of completing a book is often not the time involved, the work, the writing ability…

Sometimes it’s fear. Those fears can take many shapes.

Right now, write for five minutes, beginning with the sentence: “I am afraid of writing this book because…”

I think that if we acknowledge our fears, we are not ruled by them.

  • I will fail.
  • My family will hate me.
  • I will discover that I’m not really a writer.
  • I will waste my time.
  • My idea is not original enough.
  • I am not good enough.
  • What I write will be superficial or boring or stupid.
  • I won’t be able to finish it.
  • I will find out things about me that I don’t want to know.
  • No one will care what I write.
  • I will get bad reviews.

What most of these fears boil down to is about our fears about judgment — from ourselves (i.e. perfectionism) and from others.

And for most of us that fear takes the form of our Inner Critic, the negative self-talk that can be strong and sneaky and self-defeating.

If you’re going to write a book, you’re going to need to tame it. (Or her? Or him? Does your inner critic have a gender? I always picture mine as an old man.)

“What you say to your critic is, ‘Ah, thank you for sharing.’ and you turn your critic from a voice of doom and gloom into a little cartoon character. And the cartoon character can be as negative as it wants and you can step past it.” ~ Julia Cameron

Take 15 minutes to write a letter to your inner critic. Tell him/her/it that you’ll be writing a book and thank it for its prior services (keeping you feeling safe, connected, etc). Now request that it stay silent for awhile. Be specific about what you don’t want it to do and how you will face it when it tries to reappear.

Share your writing from either exercise — your fears in writing this book or your inner critic letter — in our writing forum if you’d like.