Little Known Way to Overcome the Fear of Writing

by Jan Geronimo on February 26, 2009

This post is inspired by Sonia Simone’s advice to web writers who agonize over their writing. Is it good enough to be read? Will I be ridiculed for posting this idea on my blog? Preconceived notions have the power to shackle new authors, resulting in frustration and half-baked creative output.

She made a superb list of pointers for “growing” a blog post. The most helpful to me as a new web writer is her advice to just write the first draft. And never worry that it’s horrible, full of gunk and stupid. There’s a time for pruning and tightening what you write. But that is for later. The most pressing task is to first get it out of your system.

I find this advice remarkable because I’m the kind of writer who agonizes over every sentence I make. No wonder it’s taking me hours to just nail a simple post. All right, I usually lock myself in my room, free from outside distraction. I close my email program and Facebook page. But I have let in an interloper in the room, an internal editor who keeps thumbing down this word and insulting me for coming up with that idea.

This grumpy interloper simply has to go. You’re too much of a nuisance and just have to wait for your turn, Mr. Editor.

I’m making this advice a part of my creative process. Free writing is the key to unleash that creative burst of inspiration.

Says Sonia Simone:

You are not an air traffic controller. If you write a post that’s not very good, or that people just can’t get into, the world will not come to an end. No one will be maimed or die. No innocent puppies will suffer.

How do you make yourself productive? What inspiration have you found that keeps you winning in your battle with that empty page? Do your tricks do wonders for you, leaving your ego and puppies well enough alone and happy?

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  • i usually get my blog ideas while i'm stuck in manila traffic. obviously, as there's nothing else to do except to burn your bottoms with other dead tired passengers, i sit contently in one corner of the bus and cull all the random spurts from my skull. so while everybody else might be pissed with the dragging progress of rush hour traffic, i'm busy constructing my next blog post for my e-abode. haha!
    .-= lio loco´s last blog ..SSDD No. 3 =-.
  • Jan
    @Petit: Don't get discouraged. Maybe there are lot of gifted bloggers out there, but we have no idea a whole lot of the process they went through to come up with such posts. It's draining, it's frustrating, it's riddled with feelings of inadequacy too.

    Each of us is not made the same. If we tap into what makes us unique as a person and translate this uniqueness to the page, maybe that's the key. And this will surely set us apart.

    Thanks. Whew, you make me think hard huh? hahaha.
  • Petit
    but you have a fine gift for words Jan. and a lot of bloggers here too. sometimes i caught myself staring at a blank monitor thinking how to make a blog as good as yours especially when you are in a hurry or aare too busy but want to jot that idea for the moment....then, thinking how good the bloggers here, i loose the zeal to write. hehehe, you know, sometimes its insecurity, or just simply afraid to be incorrect.
  • Jan
    @Roy: Even Jackie Chan will have a hard time kicking himself in the butt. :) There's no magic trick I think. One has to show up simply, sit down to write on one's preferred schedule. It's this constancy that will sustain us. We can settle for five hundred words. But the main thing is we show up to write.

    In between skeds, we go out and butt heads with life. Have fun. Or be miserable as the case maybe. Either way shows us the stuff from which we draw our writing inspiration. Woooh, heavy. hahaha.
  • Roy
    there are times when I want to give myself I pat on the back for writing what I believe is a beautiful piece.

    then, there are times I want to kick myself in the butt because i've spent long hours staring at the monitor yet i still can't a word.

    i wish i knew the secret... so that i can always write... cause when i write, i feel good... i want to feel good always
  • Jan
    @elmot: makes sense to me. no secret to it. just sit down and write. sweat it out of you, day in and day out. Thanks, friend. :)
  • elmot
    sionil jose was asked tips for a an aspiring to writer to become like him...and he answered that, a person who wants to become a writer has nothing to do but write...well, that is maybe, just write
  • Jan
    @ms. earth: When we're inspired our fingers seem to have a life of their own. Maybe we should take advantage of these moments to crank out several posts for the rainy day as well. :)
  • earthlingorgeous
    Ahhhhhhhhh! When the inspiration strikes me my fingers do the talking. I can write in 30 minutes, not a flawless copy but I was able to put into writing whatever I was feeling at that moment about a certain issue and then then edit later when I re-read and something doesn't sound right.
  • Jan
    @james: thanks - valuable reflections on writing you've got for us there. :)

    @dee: Hehehe. Hopes it gets easier with time for our sanity.
  • Dee
    "...kind of writer who agonizes over every sentence I make." - I'm really like that too. That's why I get frustrated at times and find myself facing an empty post editor for several minutes. This is really helpful. Encouraging and uplifting. :D
  • James
    A writer once saith, "Writing will be your companion through the darkest and brightest days of your life — if that is what you want. It exposes pain and guilt and the greatest joy. It is your own assessment of who you are. You should write as much as you can and as much as you want to. It will be something to turn to."


    "When all desires that surge in the heart are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal."

    Man with the spirit to utter in pen or through the keyboard sees writing a lifetime privilege the moment he or she was born.
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