Writing Tips

The fear of the unknown

For many writers, and wannabe writers, the fear of the unknown is often what stops them from going further. Fear rules our lives in ways we don’t even think of a lot of the times. It stops us from accomplishing goals, from doing things we want to do, from taking steps to improve and change. Writer’s block is a form of fear that takes hold sometimes when you look toward the end and aren’t sure where you’re going.

I’ve had my fair share of times when I didn’t want to keep writing. Sometimes you just lose the idea, but sometimes you realize that you have no idea where you’re going. Even with an outline, you can get lost so it’s important to keep pushing through. It’s easy to just give up and let your novel languish in its own insecurities, but it’s better to keep writing until it’s done. It may not be pretty. It may not be perfect but at least it’ll be done.

Being a writer is all about the unknown, so there’s no reason to be afraid of it. People say to write what you know, but we only know so much, and isn’t being human all about learning and growing? So write about new things! Do your research and get so involved in 1890s politics that you can lecture anyone who cares to listen about it. Don’t half-ass it either. It’s easy to tell when someone hasn’t done their research and for some people, it can throw them out of the story. On the flip side, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in details, details that most people aren’t interested in. You have to find the right balance.

Pushing forward into the unknown isn’t always easy. It isn’t always fun, but it’s something writers have to do in order to finish their books and get new ideas for the future. The world is full of unknown things. Here are a few ways you can push past your fears and improve your writing and your life:

  • Do something you’re afraid of – it can be anything from touching a spider to calling up someone to admit you were wrong to going to the movies alone. Doing these things can help build your confidence and help you find your own way.
  • Just keep writing. Even if you don’t know the end, even if it scares you that you don’t have a plot twist or even a plot, keep writing! Something will come out in the end and there’s always editing to fix it.
  • Write out of your comfort zone. Always write young adult fantasy novels? Try a sci-fi or historical fiction. In the end, it may not be what you like or expect, but it’s a good opportunity to grow your abilities as a writer.

Being afraid is a natural thing in life and we all struggle with it, so it’s a good idea to take control of those fears and harness them into something more, something useful. Take a leap of faith and trust that things will turn out alright because, honestly, they usually do in the end.

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