Are You Afraid To Get Your Book Written?

Some time ago, a delightful man contracted with me to write a book that was to be the story of his successful business life. We’d finished our first interview session, I’d submitted the first rough draft which he said he liked. I showed up for our second appointment and with a big sigh and tears in his eyes, he couldn’t continue. He went on to explain he’d even had a session with his psychiatrist about writing his book, and he just wasn’t willing to reveal himself.

In another instance a young man had developed a fairly unique way of looking at life, and hired me to help him put it in a book. We got several chapters in and he quit returning my email and my phone calls.

A woman and I had a great deal of difficulty getting her book truly underway. After several broken appointments and false starts, she admitted the whole idea of writing a book scared her half to death.


Although each of these examples are different, at least on the surface, I think the woman who identified that she was afraid was speaking for many as well as herself.

What’s The Fear?

When you think about getting your book written, there are several things that you might find scary, including:

  • The sheer size of the project; 40,000 words, give or take, 200 pages give or take, is a big project. It takes sustained effort over a period of time to get it done. You can, however, if it’s important to you, get a book written. If it’s important, you’ll find the time, the way to make it happen.
  • Fear of revealing yourself. If you write a book and it sells well, you are exposing your ideas, and, in many ways, your very being to hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of strangers. Getting a book out there is a public act. You will be on record, in print, with whatever ideas you’ve put in your book. People will know you at some level, and some will judge you. Does that really matter?

  • Fear of success. If your book is even moderately successful, it’s likely to change your life. You will have more authority and more respect. Some people will expect more of you because you’re a published author. If you’re highly successful, you may even get rich from your book. Are you willing to expand?
  • Fear of failure.  If you sell only a dozen or so copies, may fear you’ll feel like a failure. You won’t be, of course, but you’re likely to feel that way for a bit. Are you willing to risk feeling like you failed?
  • Fear that your ideas will change even before the book is printed.  They probably will change, or at least develop, which only means you’re getting ready to write a second or third book. Isn’t that nice?

These are, in my experience, the most typical fears that keep people from getting a book written. There’s nothing wrong with fear, it’s letting it stop you that’s the problem.

What are your fears? How will you let them go?

Write well and often!

Anne Wayman, Ghostwriter

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Nida Sea March 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I was afraid of publishing my first novel. I have written 48 different novels since I was 12. What I found myself doing, up until a year ago, was editing and changing story lines. Someone, a teacher actually, pointed it out to me that I wasn’t going anywhere with my stories. The little bit that I let him read, he said they were great, but how I would know real accomplishment from them was to publish them. So, this year for my new year’s resolution, I decided to hire an editor, finally, and submit my first novel. To put it simply, I got tired of being afraid. :)

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annew March 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Good for you Nida – keep us posted on how it goes. We’d love to follow your progress.

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Sue Hannibal March 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Hi Anne,

The way to release the fears is via energy work, not therapy. The roots of these fears are usually found in childhood… prior rejections, teachers or parents cirticizing a child’s creativity, some sort of negative fear programming or traumatic incident that is under the radar. If you want to offer your readers and clients concrete help in getting over this problem, introduce them to the field of energy psychology. I’d be happy to write something for your next newsletter to follow up on your article and address this problem. By the way, I decided to go to graduate school to get my MA in Integrative Health, so I’m writing about all this anyway! namaste, Sue

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annew March 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Hi Sue, energy work is one way to release fear, but not the only one. I’ve released fear because or through therapy, through energy work, and, as Nida below indicates, just because I finally was able to. If you want to do a guest post that shows how energy work can help get a book written I’d consider it… no pay, maybe some glory…

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Leo March 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hi, Anne!!! This is Leo!!! Hey, I wanted to ask you, how much does it cost to hire you
as a ghostwriter?

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annew March 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Leo, I sent you email… I won’t quote a price to ghostwrite a book without knowing a whole lot more about your project and understanding exactly how I can help.

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Carol Page March 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Hi Anne,
Having self published one book (with the help of a publisher friend), I’m not sure which book should be my second. Of the 250 copies originally printed, January, 2010, only a dozen or so remain in my care. I had really hoped to have a second printing, but with the changes I want to make, it would be like the first project all over again. My book is ‘From the Page Patch, Three Decades of Christmas Wishes’ and I understand about revealing oneself. That part was more of a challenge for my daughter, who says, “It’s just so personal.” When all I wanted to hear was, “Mom, you’re a good writer/ storyteller.” Your advice would be helpful.

Carol

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annew March 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Carol, daughters can be tough – I’ve got one so I know. I’d start by asking what’s closest to your heart?

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Terri Forehand March 22, 2012 at 4:19 am

Great post, fear of failure and fear of success are huge. I have a little fear of both. Thanks for sharing.

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annew March 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

You’re welcome, Terri. What are you doing to let the fears go?

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Curt Rude March 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Do the things you fear and the death of fear is certain. I sat down with my lap top and managed to put together a novel, JusThis without realizing what it was all about. Learn I did. First writing, then editing, rewriting and on and on. The trip down this new experiance was great, I almost hate to arrive at my “published” destination but arrive I shall. People like you, Anne, have made my trip wonderful. Thanks for a great article.

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annew March 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Thanks, Curt… maybe it’s time to write the next one?

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Luana Spinetti April 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

And then…

… fear of getting something finished
… because you fear it will be wasted time
… because you fear not being able to live a ghost’s life in the world anymore.

Fears I’ve had all through my childhood and teen years, that led me not to finish so many beautiful projects.

At last, I’m taking my dreams back in my hands, with an energized smile. :) At 26.

A hug,
- Luana S.

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annew April 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hey Luana, good to see you here too… sounds like you’re moving through fear nicely.

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jessy Morgan July 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Hi Anne,

Love your uplifting blogs….just about to give up on the whole process, but not now!

Every seed of doubt that grew has been diminished by your honest and insightful advice. My struggle has never been with ideas or creativity, just the confidence to finish what I start without talking myself out of my own capability… sad hey lol!

But tomorrow I’ve made a vow to finish my short story, my obsession with the life of Noel Coward is proving difficult to part with….but trees plenty more where that came from. Thanks so very much.

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annew July 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

ah, Jessy, hope you don’t give up… the world needs your voice.

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sean January 11, 2013 at 1:26 am

Hi Anne. My name is Sean, I have a story to tell and the same response from everyone I tell parts of it to all tell me the same thing, That I should write a book. Please let me know if you would like to hear what I have to say and if you would be interested.

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annew March 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Sean, I charge money to read manuscripts – check out annewayman.com

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