Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | By: Karen Bishop

10 Things That Scare Writerly People

Most writerly people -- like you and me -- are brave, fearless and courageous. We sit hunched over our keyboards day after day using the interwebz to dazzle the masses with our razor sharp wit, humor and all-around genius. During those rare moments we interact with other humans, we project a confident, fear nothing attitude.

We have to be fearless to give up a brick-and-mortar job and a regular paycheck for the unknown writerly world where money may not arrive for months. Not to mention our page views look a bit like the world's scariest roller coaster ride ever some days.

It may come as a surprise to know writers have fears just like everyone else. Yes, it's true! Not to worry, I've taken steps to keep the non-writerly in their blissfully clueless state concerning us writerly types. They'll either see a blank page or a jumbled mess followed by a ticking time bomb appearing on the screen that virtually explodes, depending on what browser they're using.

*Disclaimer* The list of 10 things may not be in the order of your own fears and any similarities real or imagined are purely coincidental.

Here's the list of 10 serious, and a couple of not so serious, things that scare writerly people.

10. Running Out of Pens. I'll freely admit that this scenario makes my insides tremble. Tapping away on a keyboard is more common than using pen and paper these days, but we still like to go old school now and then. I have a huge stockpile of pens and I can't stop myself from adding more pens. Maybe I need a pen intervention....or a pentervention...

9. Fear We Really Do Suck. It's quickly closing on three years since I became a freelance writer and sometimes I consumed by the fear I really suck, my articles are crap, but no one has gotten around to being honest enough to say so. I'm sure your insides or your hand trembles a bit, just like mine, when you submit an article.

8. Fear of Fame and Success. It's kind of funny when you think about this one. I've noticed many other writers, not just myself, are a solitary bunch. We write many different things we know are going to be read by thousands, hopefully millions, of people, yet fear being singled out. Being able to become anonymous by donning a pen name provides a layer of privacy.

7. Taking Chances. The world of writing is all about taking chances, confidence, selling our writing and ourselves to other people. I'll readily admit I sometimes--okay most of the time--have a severe lack of confidence in my abilities. I'm scared spitless thinking about putting myself out there to attract clients. There's a deep fear of not being good enough, of being rejected. Sometimes you just have to take a chance or risk losing a lucrative job when you let this fear hold you back.

6. Typos and Other Stupidity. This is enough to make the most confident writer shake uncontrollably with fear. Having work published with typos, and *gulp* even worse, published with one or more sentences that make no sense. There's also sentence tampering which turns perfectly sensible, factual sentences into gobbledegook. The meaning of sentences turned into non-factual stupidity leaving us, and readers, scratching their heads as we try to decipher them. Editors mean well, but if it doesn't need to be touched, don't touch it! When this occurs, go immediately to your email and raise some hell to have your writing restored to its pristine state.

5. Computer Wonkiness and Breakdowns. Computers, mainly laptops, have become the modern-day pen of writers. We use them for everything. Without them we lose access to our clients. The slightest glitch makes us sweat, fearing our trusty computer is going to go to computer heaven. Writers with older computers may also begin to tremble, worry and feel a strong urge to panic. Try to remain calm, retain your composure. Oh who am I kidding! Break down and sob, no one will blame you.

4. Trying to Right the Wrongs and Identity Theft. We know the world wide interwebz is full of misinformation, some of it truly horrific, content wise and the way it's written. The totally awesome writers, like us, pride ourselves on publishing well-written, factual content. We quake in terror of finding our good names on something which says: "He was on the maining with a halberd and did reach for sibilant tupperware." It's called a spun article and never makes sense. Although if you're like me and many other writers I know, you can laugh and have fun with it.

3. Quiet in the Deadlands. A descriptive way to express what it feels like when writers slam into the wall of writer's block, the feeling of a blank mind and wondering why our muse has abandoned us. The ideas for articles typically come from our lives, our interests, even our jobs, past or present. Running out of ideas and writer's block are real fears. I've sweated many moments of writer's block, even as I sit and stare at a huge list of ideas. Try not to panic. Just write something, anything to get things rolling again. Yes, tap out a single word 100 times if that's what it takes.

2. Deadline Pressure. I bet every writer has dealt with the nerve-wracking, sweat inducing fear of missing a deadline for anything. Even a self-imposed deadline such as putting up a blog post. Some writers will begin to obsess about a deadline right from the start. Take heart fellow writerly people, you are not alone in your obsession or fear.

And the number 1 fear of writerly people....

1. Realizing There's No Coffee in the House. This scenario is truly nightmarish, complete with palsied shaking and cold sweats. Affected writers may also turn into slathering beasts, accompanied by lots of teeth gnashing. Some may bear a resemblance to a pissed off Incredible Hulk. Give these writers a wide berth until they've ingested no less than 20 pots of coffee, which will set their bodily systems to normal once again. If you happen to be caught in the same room when they morph, make no sudden movements and leave the vicinity as soon as possible. Run to the nearest establishment that sells coffee, preferably Starbucks, and buy the whole store. Then carefully lure the beast...uh writer, to the store and proceed to pour everything with lots of caffeine in it down his or her throat.

Hopefully you had a few chuckles over the not so serious entries and found comfort in the serious ones knowing you're not alone. Do you have any writerly fears? Be bold, be brave, leave it in the comments, then get back to work!


Tara C said...

Very accurate, especially 'no coffee.' I can't work without it.