Writing is Scary

One of the first thing I was told when  I took my video game design class was that everyone would think they could do my job because everyone has ideas. Most people don’t get what my job is and think that ideas are all there is to it.
Same thing goes for writing.

We would all like to think that having an idea is enough to write a book. Unfortunately, life isn’t so. Some people will push through and work their way up to completing a first story, be it a short or a novel manuscript. A portion of said people is going to hone their craft, rework their story and polish it. A few get published.
Some people say that the process is about perseverance; you have to keep trying after the umpteenth rejection. Some say you need modesty and, with it, the capacity not only to accept critic but to critic yourself.
I say that in order to complete a story, you also need to conquer your fears because writing is a scary thing.

We’re scared our idea isn’t good enough.
We’re scared our word choice isn’t the best.
We’re scared our sentences could be tighter.
We’re scared our story doesn’t make sense.
We’re scared our characters are cliché or bland.
We’re scared we’re using the same words too often.
We’re scared to cut off chapters we love but ruin the whole.
We’re scared to put our heart out there because we know it beats behind every line.

Writing is scary. It haunts our night and can drive us nuts. Ultimately, no matter how hard we try, we cannot disarm every writing-related fears we have. We must use them to hone our craft, rework our story and polish it without letting them cripple us.
Because when all is said and written, when our story is as good as we feel it can be, the only thing we can do is take a leap of faith and hit send.
And that guts, my friend, makes us writers.


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

15 responses to “Writing is Scary

  • Dr. Tom Bibey

    Good post. I saved old stories for ten years before I decided I had to compile them into a novel. After that I spent another ten years writing it. At first I had no idea what I was doing, but I took all the constructive criticism in stride, and made revisions based on the feedback. It was slow, but the story began to gel.

    You’re right, it can be a scary process, but if deep in your soul you know your story is true it will get there because it has to. My book is “The Mandolin Case.” I hope you’ll check out the reviews of it on Amazon.

    Dr. B

    • Aheïla

      Hi Dr. B,
      It’s nice to read about your own quest toward publication. I have yet to get there myself but I’ve already faced a few fright. *laughs* One of them actually is right on this blog in the form of my blog novel Unforeseen Dives.
      I’ll take a look at your book for sure! 😉

  • Claire Gillian

    Nice job, Aheila. You nailed it exactly.

    • Aheïla

      Thanks Claire!
      I find myself reluctant to write these days because I took a huge scary step and changed a whole story arc (as in “throw it out and start from scratch”). I have to kick myself to write again. I realized it was part of the writer’s day-to-day.

  • Anna

    The fun part of telling people you write novels is when people try to convince you they have this AMAZING idea for a novel and if you write it they’ll allow you to keep 50% of the huge profits it’ll make!!!!

    I don’t have enough swear words to cope with those people. Especially when it’s my mom doing it.

    • Aheïla

      *laughs* That one has yet to happen to me. I’ve seen it on some writers’ forums though. It makes me laugh. “I’ll give you all the mythology, plotline, character descriptions of my masterpiece and you’re going to write it.”
      I guess it works in some cases; we’ve seen books written by more than one author before. I just don’t think that’s the way to do it.

  • Anna


    I should add, people do that because they think writing is sooo easy. If they give you the ideas, then you’re all set to churn out a 100 000-word novel in a week, right???

  • reading raynes

    I totally hear you. I gave up a really good job because I want to write, and all I’ve earned thus far is laughs and scoffs. Sad, people think writing is easy. Keep writing, there are writers reading!

    p/s: anna: it was my MUM who totally thought writing would be a ridiculous choice. I hope that at least, in my lifetime, I’d be able to prove it’s worth it!

    • Aheïla

      I don’t have what it takes to make the jump to full time writing (financially speaking). However, I do expect that when I’ll do it (and I hope to do it one day) some people will think I’m making “easy money”. Yeah, right!

  • Jenn

    You nailed it. That list? I say “oh yeah” to each of them & I could probably come up with a few more as well…lol

  • On Writing – The Power of Achievements « The Writeaholic's Blog

    […] how I said that Writing is Scary? The fright comes from the impossibility for a writer to make sure anything is right. It’s a […]

  • Suzanne

    This is a great post. There have been so many times when I go back to read something I’ve written and think, “This is all wrong.” It does take courage to keep moving forward.

    • Aheïla

      Hello Suzanne and welcome to my blog,
      I think both happens; going back to realize it’s all wrong and going back to realize it’s all good. That’s why we must sufficiently detach ourselves from our writing before we go back.

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