Friday Speak Out!: Conquering the Writing Demons, Guest Post by Tiffany Jansen

Friday, July 16, 2010
Conquering the Writing Demons

by Tiffany Jansen

Have you ever been afraid? A sweaty-palms, butterflies in the stomach, clammy-forehead, crippling fear that makes your heart seem to stop.

I feel that way about writing. Not that I don’t love it: I do! Not that I don’t think I’m good at it: I think I’m pretty darn good with a lot of potential if I may say so myself. So why am I so afraid of something I love and feel confident in my ability to do well?

Simple: fear of failure. What we write is so very much a part of us. To have our work rejected, laughed at, negated, or criticized is a very jagged pill to swallow. To protect myself from this possibility, I play it safe. I stick to markets that accept and appreciate my work. The jobs that are easy to get. Ones I know I’ll do well in. The bad news is that most of these markets don’t pay. Not very promising if you’re looking to make a career as a freelance writer.

I’ve noticed though, that success in the non-paying markets has helped me hone in my writing skills and become more confident in my work. Enough so that I have recently, slowly begun to branch out. I’m leaving content mills for paid travel writing gigs. Non-paying expat websites and blogs are taking the back burner to expat magazines and newspapers. My guest posts are saved for the more popular blogs in my niche and I’m starting to do posts for other well-known blogs (such as this one).

Perhaps once I’m feeling good about these markets, I’ll move on to find my own clients or maybe even start on one of the many book ideas going through my head. Only time will tell. With the rate I’m going however, I hope I have a looooong time ahead of me!

What are your writing fears? Have you found a motivator or confidence builder to get you past those fears?

Tiffany Jansen is an American expat living in the Netherlands. She has written for numerous expat and travel publications and actually has succeeded in writing one book. Her Dutch adventures are chronicled on her blog Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland.


Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Katie said...

I keep a piece of fan mail handy for times when I feel like quiting. I actually have one pinned up on my bulletin board at my desk. It helps.

ML said...

Loved your post on fear of failure, Tiffany! So true.

I just sit down and speak severely to myself, and then make marks on the page. When it's not blank, it helps me get going.

PatriciaW said...

What you describe is how I feel about writing fiction. I've gotten good feedback yet the demon of doubt never leaves me. Success in non-fiction markets as helped to build my overall confidence.

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