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Writers can’t be too scared to write the book

April 9, 2013

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Fear is a powerful force. Things that go bump in the night and black cats crossing our paths can play funny mind games with our heads.

Writers have their own fears. 

Perhaps the spookiest times for writers are starting and not finishing books. Often, it’s projects that never get beyond the first few pages. Some authors have a book well under way before reaching a point where they simply stop, put the book aside and never complete it.

Why is that? Why do so many writers quit on their books?

My short answer is too many authors spend far too much time simply writing it. A book, at least in its first draft, should be written fast and from the heart. The time for slowing down and thinking comes with the editing.

Too many writers don’t embrace this very simple concept. It’s no wonder that writing is seen as a daunting task.

We over-think so many things, and it can get us in a bind. Sure, there’s certainly a place for logical thinking in life. We don’t want to be operated on by surgeons who just wing it. We don’t want our roads and bridges built without careful planning.

A botched surgical procedure can put put a life at risk. A badly constructed road or bridge can spell doom for motorists. But a bad book? Where’s the danger there?

Writing a book is the time to just let the words fly. It’s not a time to be careful, to be worried about how exactly to say something. Too many writers put words to paper as if they are playing chess, carefully calculating every word, comma, period. They’re scared to death that their work won’t be good enough. That it won’t be perfect – that maybe they can’t write.

If you’ve been stuck in first gear for months, even years trying to get that book under way, to find that momentum, perhaps it’s time to sit down and just write the damn thing. Let the words come out as fast as they can.

Don’t let fear strangle you.

Give it a shot. What have you got to lose?

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