• Patricia Stover

What are YOU Afraid of? Authors Talk About Their Fears

Updated: Apr 14, 2019

How many of us let fear hold us back in our writing careers? How many of us are afraid of what real success looks like. How many of us are afraid of the hard work, time and effort it takes to be successful? What fears do you have about writing?

Recently I asked authors what they were afraid of. No, I'm not talking about spiders and snakes, or a three legged werewolf breaking into your bedroom while you sleep to seek revenge. No, just me? No, what I'm talking about are the fears writers face everyday. The fear of failure. The fear that your writing sucks so hard Hoover stuck a hose on it and shoved it on a shelf a Target. The fear of revealing too much in your writing, and everyone learning your deepest secrets. Hell, even the fear of success itself. Here is what those authors had to say.

Speculative fiction author Lucie Guerre spoke about her fear of success and the risks we take as authors.

"I'm scared of success. Rejection doesn't frighten me, I've experienced it all my life, but success is a huge risk because I've always been warned about the other shoe dropping. In fact, every time I get close to succeeding, I find a way of sabotaging myself."

Horror author Brandy sharp talked about her thoughts on fear.

"Is it fear? I didn't self edit for a long time, because I had such a hard time seeing the mistakes. Hard work, though, never scared me much. But I have another fear. Take my novel I'm working on. It deals with the after effects of abuse, and it doesn't shy away from the ugly there. It also deals with sexual abuse, but more like the after effects. And I'm terrified that I shouldn't have, that I need to edit it out. Even so, the first version of the novel side stepped the emotional fruition, the culmination, of a daughter haunted by her mother's complicated memory, in which my MC faces her mother- and that was also based in fear. And I'm finding, more and more, that my writing deals with abuse. My latest, The Moira- Looking for Larunda, deals with it- kind of, but not directly. And then Larunda the play actually has it. And I hate Larunda specifically for that. So... yes? But success, no, that doesn't scare. In fact, I often tend to count my chickens before the eggs have hatched."

Mary Stein Myers had this to say.

"I'm scared of the damage I could do to the people in my life and our relationships when I process my feelings through characters."

A few authors had something to say about Imposter Syndrome, which is something I only recently learned about.

"I will freely admit to a horrible case of Imposter Syndrome. One day someone is going to say I'm nothing but a fraud, that I just got lucky or have friends in high places. Fact is, if you don't believe in yourself and your work, no one else will either. When I fall into these fits, I just back off for awhile until the itch to write just becomes too overwhelming and then the Muse and I get back to work."

P.A. O'Neil Storyteller

Author Amy Hunter had this to say about Imposter Syndrome.

"I guess it's a feeling like... everyone else is succeeding and doing their thing professionally when you're just playing make-believe or dress up in their world."

Some of us may even feel as though we're not good enough, which is feeling a lot of writers can relate to.

"My fear is that I’ll never be a good enough writer, or creative enough to get published and make a career out of writing, which is the goal. Also that it’ll be years and years before I get close because I don’t have enough time to study and write. Imposter syndrome is strong, maybe because I only started writing 3 years ago at age 37. I know a lot of my fears are unfounded as things are going really well so far and just last week my Novella-in-Flash made the longlist in big comp. (SL not out yet). And I’ve had great feedback from betas for my novels, but the fear is there! Wish it would sod off and let me get on with it."

Jenny Kennedy

Some authors fear they'll never have enough time to finish writing.

"My only fear is running out of time. I have so many ideas, for stories, films, and other creative projects. I have big dreams and plans, and I'm not scared to put myself out there."

Marlon Hayes

As for me,the list is a mile long. I fear not being good enough. I am afraid people will laugh at my work, and not in a good way. One of my biggest fears is landing a big deal and not being able to deliver. The fear that my own fear will hold me back. So essentially I'm afraid of being afraid. How's that for a laugh?

What scares one of us may not scare another. Maybe you're not afraid of success, but you're afraid of what people will think or say about your work. Maybe you're afraid of revealing too much of yourself in your work, like I am. Fear touches a lot of us. Sometimes we don't even realize it was holding us back in the first place. Often we let that fear decide what we write or publish or how we write it. Ultimately it is that same fear that decides what happens to our career as an author. The important thing is to know that everyone is afraid of something. Even seasoned authors. It's all about how we handle those fears. Will you let that fear define you and your career as an author? Or will you grab it by the B@!!$ and say, "You don't intimidate me!"

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For more information about the authors quoted visit their links below.

Amy Hunter


P. A. O'Neil Storyteller


Marlon Hayes


Brandy Sharpe


Jenny Kennedy


twitter: @SpookyGirl1978

Lucie Guerre



Mary Stein Myers


#writing #fear #auuthor #authoranxiety

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