The #1 Thing Writers Worry About

(Why didn’t *I* think of that awesome idea?)

When I started to try and be consistent in my writing (i.e., doing it daily, increasing my wordcount, etc.) I noticed some . . . resistance. Even though I love writing, I kept looking for excuses to put it off. I gave into distractions. I came up with reasons why writing was a bad idea, or just why my ideas were bad.

Often, you hearing about people saying they don’t have enough time to write. But I soon realized that time wasn’t my problem. I could easily say “no” to activities I considered less important (I’m looking at YOU, Downton Abbey). No, what was stopping me from writing was . . . worry.

What do writers worry about?

I’m curious to know if anyone else has this problem. Do you sit down to write and start thinking of all the other books that are so much better than yours? Or which ones have a great commercial “hook,” and what were you thinking starting your WIP anyway?

Or do you read an article on promoting that advocates a totally different approach from what you’ve been doing? All of a sudden you’re like, “Should I have been doing this all along instead?” (cue the headsmack)

What’s the number one thing you worry about as a writer? What stops you from putting pen to paper, and how do you deal with that? Tell me in the comments!

(Top image by Robert Bouza)

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4 comments, add yours.

Wallace Cass

This article really resonates with me because I get many of the same thoughts when I sit down in front of the word processor. Am I good enough? Am I just wasting my time? Yes, worry about my ability comes up a lot but when I think about how much I enjoy writing, all that evaporates away and I stop comparing myself to those who have been published or have legions of fans on social media.

    Ilana Waters


    Hey Wallace! I’m so glad you liked the post. I have so many of the exact same thoughts when I write! If only we could concentrate more on the whole “loving writing” thing. And comparing social media followings is just a slow, painful form of death.

Tonja Drecker

You mean that self-doubt monster? *grabs broom and smashes him as he sneaks up from behind for the millionth-zillionth time*

It doesn’t keep me away from the computer, but it always tempts me to start a new WIP and forget the one I was working on. And it creates that horrid mini-black hole in my stomach whenever I think about it. It doesn’t help that my oldest always asks me ‘Mom, what are you going to do when you realize you’ve wasted all these years?’

But is it a waste? I know many writers (like myself) who have been writing since they learned the ABCs. Even before the goal of publication and sales hit our brains, we were writing tons of stories for our own enjoyment. We write because we write. And could we ever really stop?

    Ilana Waters


    Ha-ha; yes. The Self-Doubt Monster. I think he cloned himself so he could live in all our closets.

    Sometimes, working on the SNP (Slutty New Project) isn’t such a bad idea. But I’m kind of concerned about what you’re daughter is saying. My first response would be to reply “Oh yes! You’re so right. I’ve wasted all these years writing when I should’ve been having more supportive children!” ;-P

    Would she consider J.K Rowling working on the first draft of HARRY POTTER a “waste?” Stephen King, living in a trailer with his unpublished CARRIE, a “waste?” And even if you’re never published (which will NOT happen), doing something you love (and as you said, are compelled to do) can hardly be considered a “waste.” You might want to mention that to your daughter.

    Because someday, she might get bitten by the writing bug and have to explain it to HER daughter. 😉

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  1. […] start thinking of all the other books that are so much better than yours?” writes fantasy author Ilana Waters. “Or which ones have a great commercial ‘hook,’ and what were you thinking starting your WIP […]

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