You’ve written your first manuscript. Congratulations! You’ve just spent months working on the story you were sure would be an instant success, and now you’re ready to send it out to a few close friends. Suddenly the pit of your stomach feels as if it’s pulling downward, thoughts of failure race through your mind. What if the readers don’t like your characters? What if your story is boring, or written like a middle schooler? What if you’ve failed at writing the next bestseller? Relax, what you’re experiencing is quite normal. We authors call it writing anxiety.
Here are a few quick tips for pulling yourself out of the throws of anxiety and into a successful mindset.
Remember why you wrote in the first place. You had a story to tell, and you thought that story was strong enough that others would want to read it
Start close. Hand your story to people close to you first, those who will be gentle with their remarks.
Embrace criticism. We can only grow as writers by learning. As a new writer, you are likely to encounter some amount of criticism. Constructive criticism may lead to you being a stronger, more succinct/descriptive/compelling writer. Instead of fearing criticism, embrace it.
List your strengths and believe in them. Are you a great storyteller? Do you explain things well to others? Are you interesting? Are you funny? Find your strengths and hold onto them like a lifeline.
Writing anxiety is a normal part of a writer’s life. When I was writing Megan’s Way, I feared that the subject matter (a single mother with cancer), might be a turn off to parents. Instead, it has been embraced by readers, and offered them hope, enlightenment about relationships, and an enjoyable read. Chasing Amanda presented a different worry; Did I write from about each character in a way that would allow the reader to bond with them? Reviews tell me that I did.
Pushing past writer’s anxiety is as important as the act of writing. Believe in yourself. You can do this! If you’d like to chat about writing, I’d be happy to chat with you. Drop me an email thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com.
Melissa Foster is the founder of the World Literary Café(WLC), a literary community that supports both independent and traditionally published authors and author services. WLC bridges the gap between readers and authors. She is also the founder of Fostering Success, teaching authors to learn how to navigate the world of publishing. Melissa founded the Women’s Nest, a social and support site for women, and she is also the author of three bestselling novels.Melissa blogs at http://melissafoster.com/blog/1 and tweets as @Melissa_Foster.
Article originally posted as a guest post for Beth Is Writing.