It’s a sunny Tuesday morning. The clock is ticking and you have an impending deadline – a 2,000-word blog that needs to be submitted today. It’s for your dream client and it’s exactly the kind of assignment you’ve always wanted.
Yet, you can’t seem to type a single word. Your little brain is asking questions like “What if I screw up?” “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I write trash?” And on and on.
Then begins the downward spiral. You, my friend, have a fear of failure and it’s preventing you from becoming the best writer you can be.
Let me bust a myth for you today: Every writer, no matter how experienced, accomplished or celebrated they are, is afraid of failing. Yes, even wordsmiths who’ve penned hundreds of novels are worried they will disappoint their readers.
I’ve been scared too.
So, what can you do to get rid of this crippling fear? Here are some tips:
Change your mindset
The truth is that failure makes us better. If we didn’t make mistakes, how would we learn new things? How would we improve? Mistakes, failures and slip-ups help us grow as writers. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and seeing yourself as a victim of circumstances, why not see your failure as a learning experience? What could you have done better or differently?
Break down a large assignment
The bigger an assignment, the greater is the fear of failing. It also matters whether your penning blogs for a new client you don’t know much about or an old trusty one. To overcome the fear of failing, here’s what I do: I break down a large assignment into small, do-able steps.
For example, it your writing an e-book, don’t think of it as a 10,000-word project. Divide the e-book into chapters and aim to do one 2,000-word chapter a day. That way it’ll look less like a monumental task and more like a series of blogs.
Get in your comfort zone
When you were little and scared that a monster was hiding under your bed, didn’t you go to your mom or dad to seek comfort? Similarly, when you’re overwhelmed with the fear of failing, go in your comfort zone. Sip your favorite cup of tea, write in your prime time during the day (or night) or have your favorite meal.
Don’t take it personally
As a creative writer, it’s easy to take failure personally. After all, you put your heart and soul into your blog. But sometimes you have to accept that your kind of writing style isn’t what the client is looking for. It isn’t all your fault. Sometimes clients don’t give an accurate brief or projects change with time or a business you work for has changed their content marketing strategy. It’s okay. You did your best. Now move on.
Tell yourself failure isn’t permanent
One failure or a series of failures doesn’t define your professional writing career. Do you really think experienced writers and revered authors have never ever failed? Of course they have. The only difference between them and you is that they didn’t let failure define them.
Read your old blogs
I’m betting that once upon a time you wrote a kickass blog, a well-researched article or a nail-biting short story. Read your best work. It’ll give you an instant confidence boost. You wrote a kickass blog once, right? You can definitely do it again.
Trust your clients
Your clients selected you for this assignment because they believe you can deliver it. So why can’t you just trust them?
Accept that mistakes happen
You will fail. You will fall down. You will make blunders. Accept that failure and making mistakes is a part of life. I’ve delivered shoddy work, misrepresented facts and failed to meet deadlines. It isn’t the end of the world.
Feeling better? Good. Now go and write that blog you were so scared of. Go and finish your short story. If you fail, so what?