writers / writing

My 17 Worst Fears as a Writer

writers fears

What frightens me as a writer–photo credit: Nemo

Hah! Like it’s that easy to narrow down. Come on–what are you thinking–that I can isolate one nerve-wracking, nail-biting, stomach-churning item? I think not.  A ‘worst fear’ is not something one wants to think about. It’s better to ignore it, run away if it shows up in one’s peripheral vision, pretend not to recognize it if it sits down next to you at the computer. I’ve spent years honing my skills at denying its existence…

And now Paul wants me to legitimize it with a conversation. OK. I’ll try.

But it’s going to be a list:

  • That I’ll get a bad review on Amazon. You can’t unring that bell. It ruins your averages. I have to round up my very best friends and beg them to write a review to counter it.
  • That I’ll over-think what I’m writing. That I’ll take myself too seriously and then everyone will mentally throw up over my drama. I have to shake it out and start over.
  • That my characters come across as shallow–people I wouldn’t want to know given the opportunity and my readers will abandon
  • Anton Chekov remonstrated, Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. What if I miss that? What if I miss it twice?
  • That I’ll use ‘was’ six times on one page and drain the energy out of my story like a leaky boat
  • That I’ll spell ‘siesta’ with an ‘f’–or ‘Freud’ with an ‘a’. How about ‘luck’ with an ‘f’? So much to worry about
  • That my story will reach a climax in the middle of nowhere and I won’t notice
  • That I’ll think triumphalistic  is a perfectly good word to use

  • That I’ll forget the lesson learned from my first rejection: I may be entitled to my own opinion, but I might want to use that right judiciously.
  • That I’ll start to believe statistics like 83% of new writers don’t get published, or the average American has one testicle and one ovary
  • That I will not follow the right rules and follow the wrong ones and my voice will be buried in my effort to ‘follow rules’
  • That under my verbal talents, the Great Outdoors will become mediocre
  • That publishers and agents will say, ‘There’s a gal who didn’t live up to her baby pictures’.
  • That my creative juices will disappear as though sucked up by a Hoover
  • That my muse will abandon me
  • That even now, the fat lady is singing
  • That my lips will get tired before I finish all the writer’s how-to books I need to read

Here’s the #1 fear and it’s a bit of a conundrum: If you write from your heart and no one reads it, have you really written anything?

How about you? What’s your worst fear?


Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco blogger, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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9 thoughts on “My 17 Worst Fears as a Writer

  1. “That my creative juices will disappear as though sucked up by a Hoover.”

    That one. You have no idea how much that scares me. I don’t want to get to a point where I don’t have a single idea; the mere idea is terrifying. *shudders*

  2. Hehe, I love that photo! Great post, Jacqui. I think “fear” is what stops many writers before they even get out of the gate. It’s paralyzing…….a lot of positive self-talk is needed to plow over those Amazon fears!

    May your muse never abandon you…..

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