How To Stop Wearing the Writing Mask of Fear

Learn from your mistakes and keep writing anyway

The desire to expand your writing horizons is there, but you’re afraid like others who want to write but have either started or stopped or not tried at all.

Fear appears in many guises. I’m better about not letting this stop me than I used to be. Everyone needs to let it be OK to have a weak first draft. That will help you spot places in your story where you could add improvements.

Learning the various aspects of writing can take time. Relax and give yourself permission to learn and make mistakes. Just learn from your mistakes and keep writing.

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” F Scott Fitzgerald

If you send in a query letter to a publisher and get back a rejection slip, it isn’t a personal rejection.

A common reason for rejection is a story similar to yours, and they don’t need another one. Another instance is that some beginning writers want to submit their work before they’ve learned the basics of writing. No one comes to scold you because of your short story/article/novel rejection.

If fear is stopping you from writing, get out a pair of imaginary hiking boots with thick soles and stomp that fear into submission. You have the power. If you have said you always wanted to write novels, children’s books, whatever it is you want to write you fill in the blank______ then it is time to start.

Time is precious. Write, illustrate, do both. Write for the joy of putting your words and point of view onto paper (or the computer screen.) Let nothing hold you back. I’ve been writing for many years, without a support system in place. Not one person was in my cheering section. I found that lack of support was another excuse to avoid writing and another disguise of fear.

Want to write? It is time to start. If you’re going to improve, then study and keep putting your fanny in the chair and your hands on the keyboard and continue. Some of it will be a stinkin’ pile of poo. Find the jewels, wash them off, and get back to writing.

The desire to expand your writing horizons is there, but you’re still afraid. The same goes for someone who wants to write but hasn’t started. Or have you started and stopped?

Somehow I’ve managed to learn how to write stories that have touched readers and made them happy. I continue to study and learn and probably always will.

Fear ruled me for so many years I refuse to give in and give it any more of my time. IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, DO IT. If you submit and get rejected, either submit your work someplace else or find what is wrong and fix it. Or self-publish.

Don’t let the fear of rejection, the fear that someone in your family won’t like what you write, or any of the million and one excuses wearing the mask of fear stop you from the joy of writing.

How to Write Fiction Stories: Creative Writing Lesson Tips

Writing has been handed down from father to son, mother to daughter or the village elder to the junior by word of mouth long before there was ever any writing of any kind, so that essential element in writing has never gone away. In fact, I would say that the prime prerequisite is: can you tell a good story?

The first thing you have to have to be a writer is to have a story or an idea or something that you want to communicate. Ask the question would someone be interested in this or would someone want to read about this? Writing is just a form of communication.
Are you a storyteller or do you have something to write about?

Here are some little tests to find out whether or not you are.

Are you the kind of person that when you go to the camp out you can tell the story by the fire and have everyone’s attention, have them hanging on your every word?

How’s your timing?

What do people say to you after you finish telling a story?

Do people laugh at your jokes?

Your listeners and then readers will tell you whether or not you can tell a good story.

Now we all want to take a look at ourselves and not be too critical and not be too harsh at the same time, be open and honest with ourselves. Share your story with a friend who will be honest with you.

Sit down and write. Then, read what you wrote so you can get your flow with words. Be interested in everything around you, be interested in what other people have to say. Take what they say and learn what they got from your writing. Did your story idea interest them, did they have any aha moments from what you wrote? Use that information to fine tune what you are writing. Begin to develop your voice and your style as a writer.

25 Mistakes that Peg You as an Amateur Writer

Their are 25 common mistakes that will peg you as an amateur writer:

  • Number one is spelling changes If you spell a name a certain way, make sure it is always spelled that way. Also  with locations and abilities. Be consistent with the capitalization, too.
  • Number two is characters that are similar. Do not have multiple characters with very similar names, similar personality attributes, or that are on same side, either the good side or the bad side in your story.
  • Number three is mistakes in procedures with different professions like Social Work, the Police, the Court System, or Forensic Scientists to name a few. You need to understand how those professions work if you are going to write about them.
  • Number four is mistakes in descriptions of medical problems, medical care, technology, or weapons. Research to make sure you understand what you are describing.
  • Number five is small talk in the dialogue that takes up a lot of space but does not mean anything, or have any relevance.
  • Number six is forgetting to include sensory information like sight, sound, and smell.
  • Number seven is naming the main character after yourself or a slight variation of your name. This will be very apparent when you go to query agents or publishers and it is a big red flag.
  • Number eight is cliches used too frequently. You do not want to rely on cliche phrases.
  • Number nine is using the same sentence construction over and over.
  • Number ten is switching between past and present tense unintentionally. Make sure you know which tense you are writing in.
  • Number eleven is pausing the story every time a character is introduced to provide a laundry list of physical descriptions. One or two descriptions is fine, but the big long paragraph of descriptions is not going to read smoothly.
  • Number twelve is over use of alternative dialog tags. Use these very sparingly.
  • Number thirteen is using more than one or two adjectives to describe a noun.
  • Number fourteen is using more words than is necessary. EX: he lifted his chin slowly and then dropped it back to his chest instead of he nodded.
  • Number fifteen is thesaurus writing. Replacing words constantly with bigger or fancier words to sound more impressive or sophisticated.
  • Number sixteen is constantly repeating the character’s name.
  • Number seventeen is repeating character’s name in dialogue. You do not normally call people by their names in dialogue very often so it can seem unnatural.
  • Number eighteen is repeating the same description over and over.
  • Number nineteen is switching the point of view of your character at random. The point of view of the character should switch because it advances the story. You want to switch smoothly so your reader does not get confused with your story.
  • Number twenty is including mundane details for no reason. The reader does not need to watch your character brush their teeth, get out of the shower or pick their clothes. These descriptions are very rarely interesting.
  • Number twenty one is describing every article of clothing every character is wearing at all times.
  • Number twenty two is using an adverb plus a verb instead of just using a stronger verb. EX: saying he moved quickly instead of he jogged.
  • Number twenty three is overly formal dialogue.
  • Number twenty four is introducing too many characters at the same  time.
  • Number twenty five is writing stage direction instead of action. Nobody needs excessive descriptions.