Shy Writers: The Fiction Author’s Fears

In a previous article, I asked if authors had any concerns about the move to digital publishing. Quinis asked a very good question that I wanted to examine in a full-blown post series:

How did you get over the hurdle of showing your work to anyone and everyone?

I don’t know if most people around Sygnus realize how terribly shy I really am. Maybe it’s because I’m chatty in comments and posts online. But the truth is, I don’t talk about my creations, writing or art with people who aren’t a part of the website community. Most people IRL have no idea I’m a writer, artist, webcomic/webmaster/geeky gamer girl (well, if they stumble upon this blog, I guess they know now). I’m terrified to show someone face to face my stuff. But posting things online? Not so scared. I can’t tell you why.

Writers (especially shy ones) have it hard. On one hand, we create things with the express idea to share our creations with others. On the other hand, we pour our hearts and souls into our characters, plots and creations, so much that we fear displaying our work should we have to experience the disappointment of rejection. This rejection can be in the form of other people’s criticism (even helpful criticism can be scary sometimes) or the form of having no one pay attention at all!

So let’s take a look at what we’re afraid of and how to face these fears!

The Root of All Fears

So how do you get over the hurdle of showing your work to a vast audience online? The first thing I’d do is ask yourself WHY are you afraid of sharing your work with other people? What do you feel you have to lose?

Completely normal fears about sharing writing include:

  • My writing sucks (and no one will like it).
  • My writing is unoriginal (and no one will like it).
  • No one will read it even if I post it (Forever Alone).
  • People will think my ideas are stupid (and no one will like them).
  • People will think I’M stupid because of what I write (and no one will like me).
  • OMG… I just re-read what I wrote a month ago and now I think it all stinks (and I don’t like it)!

Let me tell you a secret. I think most writers, even writers you think are good at the craft, have been hit (hard!) over the head with one or more of these self doubts. I have. Every single one of those thoughts has afflicted me at some time or another. You’re not alone! 

Our writing reflects a deep, sometimes secret, part of ourselves. It takes a lot of courage to open the doors and let other people in. We don’t know if others will understand our stories, our characters, and ultimately us. That’s a scary thing to face!

Another scary thing to face is criticism, even when it’s helpful feedback. In my next post, I’ll talk a little about how to deal with criticism. Then, I’ll work on a post that gives some tips in breaking the ice and working towards overcoming the fears that keeps us from sharing our writing with others.

Q & A

  • Have you ever felt any of the above fears as a writer?
  • Do you have additional fears or doubts that you can add to the list?
  • What did you do to overcome these feelings?