Tips to overcome your fear of writing

So, you’ve been thinking about writing that blog post for a long time now. Maybe your head is popping with some brilliant ideas and you want to share them with your friends and on social networks; maybe you want to raise your personal or company profile on LinkedIn or show your competitors how good you are with words, or maybe it is just peer or social pressure, making you want to get it over with.

Whatever the reason, the point is you want to write that article, but horror of horrors, you just can’t get yourself to write.

The idea, which seems brilliant in your head, just becomes an exercise in frustration when you think about putting it into words. Self-doubt takes over, and you find yourself making an excuse to postpone that article, again.

Well, you are not alone. Most writers go through such a phase. I too suffer from writer’s block sometimes, but I have a few quick fixes that help me get started. Here are my two pennies worth on getting over the fear of writing.

Ignore the audience in your head

No, you are not crazy, and yes, you can learn to ignore those voices

When it comes to writing, most of our fears come from being judged for what we have written. Suddenly the feeling of all eyes being on you starts feeling true and we stop or shelve the idea altogether. Don’t do that.

Start with a rough draft, even if it doesn’t make much sense, or doesn’t feel professional enough. Most often than not, the voices that are telling you it’s not good enough are your own. No one is peeking in your notebook or staring at your screen. So, ignore the audience in your head and stop convincing yourself that the version you've imagined is better than whatever you are putting on paper, or on your screen.

To go past the biggest hurdle – the blank page – start writing. Even if it feels like putting down random thoughts on a sheet of paper, do it.

Read, research, rehash

Sometimes, the real reason why it’s difficult for you to write could be a lack of proper knowledge about the subject. The fix for this is doing your research. Read on that subject, take notes, and draw from what is trending and being discussed on the issue. Follow discussions and get ideas from what experts are saying and use it to get your thoughts working.

If this doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, then go to the comments sections and see what readers have posted. Going through the comments thread is like going through the minds of your target audience. It gives you an insight into what they are thinking or what kind of questions they are raising. Sometimes, you can get amazing ideas just by reading those comments.

Once you are done with your research, create an outline – a table of content, a box, or bullet points – whatever you feel most comfortable with. The idea is to create a structure and then work towards filling that structure with content.

Use your own experience

If zeroing in on a topic is proving to be a difficult task, you can start by sharing your own experiences. Readers feel close to those blogs or share the ones that give them a sense of belonging.

If you have any valuable tips, an interesting experience, or encounter or even a process that works for you every time (like mine) then share it. If you know how to solve a problem or help someone meet a goal, then talk about it. Bring ‘you’ to your articles to make them stand out.

People instantly relate to the content that has an emotional connect. Work your struggles into your articles to make that connect. Knowing that you have already been there and done that will automatically bring in an element of trust among your readers.

Set goals and give yourself deadlines

Giving yourself a deadline is really important. Most of us (including myself) work best under the pressure of deadlines. And not just writing, deadlines work in almost every scenario. When you know that time is limited, you try to maximise it by giving it your best shot (think: sales people going full throttle before year-end).

Knowing that you have a deadline hanging over your head, like the sword of Damocles and you have no other option but to deliver, believe me, your mind will become focused, your sense will become alert, and all negativity will get zapped away, just like it does in the Magic Eraser ad.

Just write it already!

If you keep worrying about the ‘what’s’ and ‘if’s’, you will never be able to go past a couple of lines. Being critical and open minded about your writing is good, but only to an extent. So push that little doubting voice in your head and dive straight into the writing waterfall. Trust me, you can swim in those waters.

Don’t worry about the grammar or the punctuation. Just keep writing and go with the flow of your thoughts. No matter how terrible the first draft reads, just keep the words rolling. You will have plenty of time to edit it later and put things together.

Remember, to write, you have to write. There is no other way.

And now for some veteran wisdom

“There’s nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him. And the longer he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honoured in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it." Charles Bukowski