5 Fears that Stop Writers from Sharing Their Work

Sometimes, we writers write a lot but we don’t share what we write with anyone. It might be because it is private and we wrote it only for ourselves. But it might also be because we’re afraid of sharing it. Our fears hold us back.

What we write has the potential to help others heal and grow. It could give our readers new information, help them feel understood and build deeper connections with them. But if we want to be the kind of writer that is read, and is helpful, our writing needs to be seen. That means we have to put our writing out there. Which means we have to face our fears.

In this article, we’ll explore 5 fears that stop writers from sharing their work and we’ll think through what we can do about them.

5 fears that stop us from sharing: judgment, rejection, being wrong, vulnerability, being unqualified. Write the Real You

1. Fear of Judgment

One of our fears might be that the people who read our work will judge us for what we have written or how we have written it. We worry about what people think of us. Even people that we don’t know. Or people who are not that important to us. 

It might be the people-pleaser in us that wants everybody to like us. Even those people that we don’t particularly like. 

But, the truth is that not everyone will like us or what we have to say. And that’s okay. People will judge us. It’s human nature to do so. We do it too after all. In fact, people will judge us even if we don’t share our work. 

It helps to remember that even though some people will judge us, there are others who will find our insights relevant to them. If we keep them in mind, we might find that it’s easier to share our work without worrying so much about those people who may not resonate with what we have to say. 

The people that really matter are not judging us.

 

Fear of judgment. A person is looking at a gavel and biting their nails.

2. Fear of Rejection

Another fear we have is that we’ll be rejected. 

It might be that we worry that if we submit our work, it might get turned down. When our work gets rejected, we might feel like we are personally rejected. 

It might also be that we worry that if communities that we belong to read our work, they will no longer accept us. Which means we’ll feel abandoned and alone.

These fears are quite natural because they aim to protect our sense of belonging. We depend on our communities for love and support. Being rejected by them can be really scary.

One thing to remember is that we as writers are NOT our work. We imagine it, birth it, create it, and breath life into it. It may feel like our work is a part of us. But we are separate from our work. We are its creators. We are more than our work. So, if something we’ve written is rejected, rather than take it as a personal attack, we can try to learn from it (especially if we’ve been given some feedback) and improve our craft further. 

When the fear of rejection is about being abandoned by our communities, we may want to ask ourselves if we are in the right community. Perhaps we’ve outgrown the group that we are a part of. Maybe what we’re interest in and writing about is intended for another community that is just waiting to welcome us. 

But of course, if your community is what matters most to you, write things that they will enjoy and benefit from reading.

Fear of Rejection. A person is kicked out of a door.

3. Fear of being seen as unqualified

We may write about things that we know from our own perspective. But maybe we don’t have a lot of formal education on it. We may worry that people will think that we are unqualified to talk about it. And therefore, we shouldn’t be talking about it at all.

People may be skeptical of what we have to say because there is a lot of misinformation. And they may be worried that what we say will add to that misinformation and hurt them or others in the long run. 

However, there is more than one way to get qualified. 

There’s learning from textbooks and teachers. And there’s learning from experience. Both are valid and important. 

Maybe you don’t have all the letters behind your name, but if you have the lived experience of what you’re talking about, you are qualified. You can also present it that way. Instead of stating things as established facts, say that what you are sharing is what you have learnt through life

In fact, people value lived experience more than you know. And they may not take a person with only book-knowledge seriously. 

Which brings us to the other side of the coin. Maybe you have the formal degree, but you don’t have the life experience. What if you are a parenting expert without kids. Or a neurologist with no idea what a migraine feels like. Are you qualified to write about things that you have not lived through? 

Yes, actually. But, just as you’d expect a person without a formal degree to state that they have learnt from experience, you could explain that you don’t know what it feels like to live through what you are talking about. As long you are honest, people will consider what you have to say.

Fear of Being Unqualified. A person is thinking about getting qualified.

4. Fear of being wrong

What if we write something that is considered wrong or completely inappropriate later? Maybe what we come up with won’t be politically correct tomorrow. Or maybe science will disprove it. 

When we’re afraid of being wrong, we may not share our ideas or put our work out there.

What we write today will probably we outdated later. It’s because collective opinions shift. Trends and fads change. Our knowledge is constantly expanding. And we are growing and evolving too. 

It’s okay if the validity of the things we write changes. Think of science. Many things that we thought to be facts half a century ago are no longer considered relevant or true. Does that mean we don’t pursue science? We do, right? Because what we do today could help expand knowledge in the future.

If we are growing, we are bound to find that what we have written in the past is not as great as what we might write now. And it may no longer be what we believe. It’s important to remember that that is okay.

Fear of Being Wrong. A person is pointing fingers at another person.

5. Fear of being vulnerable

Sometimes when we share something, we may worry that people will use that information against us. That they may twist it and misquote it and attack our character with it. Sharing our work can feel scary and unsafe for this reason. 

Other times we may feel like we can never let our guard down or allow people to see a side of us that is still figuring things out. Like a confidence coach who is not confident about showing people that sometimes, they are not confident. We may worry that when we are vulnerable, we look weak and incompetent. 

One way we can deal with this fear is to be deliberate about what we share. We don’t have to share things that we may still be healing from or aren’t comfortable talking about. We can avoid writing about things that trigger us. 

When we write about things that we have processed and are happy sharing, we will find that we have the ability and responses to deal with critics and trolls as well. 

But there is value in being vulnerable. When we share that we are not perfect, others can relate and feel understood. You can also share what you did when you were working through your struggles. This could help your readers figure out what they can do to work through theirs. They may even feel that since you have dealt with the struggle successfully, you’d be the very best teacher for them.

Fear of Being Vulnerable. A person is curled up in fear.

The world needs your work

Our fears have a purpose. They are trying to keep us safe. Rather than brush them aside or scold ourselves for being afraid, we can think through our fears and learn how to address our minds’ concerns. 

Fears may continue to be a part of our writing journey. But know that we don’t have to let them hold us back. We can hear them out, and also find ways to deal with them. It’s important that we do because the world needs our work. 

 

Written by: Ann Harikeerthan and Ginny Hillyer

If you’d like a safe space where you can keep writing and share your work without fear, check out Write the Real You.

5 fears that stop us from sharing: judgment, rejection, being wrong, vulnerability, being unqualified. Write the Real You

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