Too many wanna-be nonfiction authors don’t ever start their books. Fear stops their fingers from touching the keyboard. If you can relate, to achieve your dream of becoming a nonfiction author you must find a way to move through whatever scares you.
So what scares you? Success? Failure? The blank computer screen?
What Aspiring Writers Fear
If you are like many aspiring nonfiction writers, you might be afraid that you:
- Aren’t a good enough writer.
- Don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
- Won’t have the commitment or stamina to finish what you start.
- Will be judged.
- Won’t sell books.
- Don’t have what it takes to succeed as an author—or won’t be able to handle success.
Yet…you do want to write your nonfiction book. You have a message to share, and that haunts you. It whispers in your ear that if you share that message you will positively and meaningfully impact readers’ lives. You wake up each day feeling your purpose driving you to take action—to write the book.
And what truly frightens you is the thought that you might never share that message, make a positive and meaningful impact in the world, fulfill your purpose, or achieve your potential. That’s a really, really scary thought.
Time to Move Through Your Fear
You know it’s time to move through your fear. But you don’t know how to do so.
And you are afraid not to write your book. You know you’ll regret leaving the idea in your head rather than sharing it with your target market.
No worries! I can think of at least ten ways to help you take steps that move you through your fear and get you writing your book.
10 Fear-Busting Tips for Writers
- Get Clear. Clarity helps you know what your book is about, why someone would want to read it, how it will fill a need in the market, and how it will benefit readers—and how it will benefit you and your life. When you are clear about why you are writing your book and how it will impact you and your readers, you become more willing and committed to moving daringly through your insecurities. You stop worrying about how to write your book—what content to include, how to create its structure, or how to provide the benefits your readers seek. Clarity affects every aspect of your book—every decision you make, every action you perform—including how and when you begin. When you are clear about your desire to write the book, you write.
- Know your “why.” Why do you want to write this book? Does the reason excite you, ignite your passion, make you feel inspired? Does it correspond with your life purpose? If you don’t have a compelling reason to write your nonfiction book, you’ll find it difficult to commit to all the work and time necessary to produce a manuscript and a successful book. Once you align your passion, purpose and values with your “why,” however, your desire to write the book will outweigh your fear. You’ll feel inspired, passionate, and energized to move courageously forward.
- Understand what you lose and gain. Like knowing your “why,” getting clear about what you will gain by writing your book provides a great motivation to writing and can move you through your fear. Sometimes, though, what you lose by not writing your book can be a greater impetus for developing the courage you need.
- Write a pitch. When you know exactly what your book is about, you get excited to write it. That takes clarity as well, this time enough clarity to write a short statement that describes your book, why it is unique, and the benefit it offers to readers. This pitch or elevator speech, as it is known, alleviates fear of beginning your book because it provides you with the first part of your writing guide. The pitch offers laser focus for what you want to write, which dispels the doubt and confusion that can lead to a fear that you don’t know what to write or don’t know how to structure your nonfiction book. The structure of your book should flow easily out of your pitch.
- Draft your mission statement. When you turn your “why” into a statement of purpose, a mission, you know exactly how you and your book will make a difference in the world. Then, writing your book is not simply about writing. It’s about having impact. It’s about authoring change. That mission will compel you to take action—to write—even when you feel fearful.
- Create a Structure. Don’t allow yourself to wonder what you’ll write. Make a concrete plan. It’s easy to feel trepidation about a trip, for example, if you don’t have directions that help you get from where you are now to your destination. Your book’s outline, table of contents, or chapter summaries provide you with a map and detailed instructions on how to get from one point to the next. Make sure you detail each step you need to make, and you can confidently move forward chapter by chapter.
- Be accountable. Commit to your writing process, and find someone to whom you can be accountable. Blogging a book works so well because your blog readers serve as accountability partners; they wait for your next “installment.” You can find a writing group, an accountability program, a coach, or even a friend to fill this role. Tell them weekly or daily what you plan to accomplish. Report back to tell them if you did. And ask them never to let you off the hook.
- Focus. Turn your attention to what you want, not what you don’t want. What you desire is to become a successful nonfiction author. To do that, you must produce a manuscript. So all your attention should be focused on writing your book—not on your fear or self-doubt. The more you focus on the fact that you feel afraid, the more fear you will generate in your body. Focus on courage, and generate a courageous attitude.
- Clear your energy. Your energy makes a huge difference in your results. If you feel fearful, and you generate fearful energy, it’s difficult to move forward courageously. Take time to shake off the old energy and generate new positive and courageous energy. Do something daring! Or simply raise your energy with deep breathing, exercise, meditation, or even a nap. Don’t try to start writing—or move through the fear of writing—before you raise your energy level and clear out the old, negative energy that has been stopping you from writing your nonfiction book.
- Start. Pick a day—this week or this month—and start writing. Period. The more you put something off, the scarier it seems. Once you begin writing, you’ll realize your fears were unwarranted.
Try these tips, and let me know in a comment below if they help you move through you fear of writing your nonfiction book. And, if you have other techniques for moving through the fear of writing, tell me about them in a comment as well.