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  • Midwest Romance Writers

FEAR: Insecurity and Doubt

By MRW Member Kristie Gannon

As writers, we are told to write about what we know. Well, I know fear. Who doesn’t? It’s something we deal with every day. Some more and some less, but it’s always there. I see fear as a very big umbrella that covers a wide assortment of fears, and those fears include insecurity and doubt. These two fears happen to plague a writer the most.

“Fear causes inaction…” a timely quote from Ichabod Crane in the TV series Sleepy Hollow. It’s true. You’ve watched movies where people are frozen in fear. This big bear is coming towards them, and they just stand there. If the story has pulled you in enough, you will scream at the person to move. For many new writers, the bear is a blank page. A million thoughts and words run through your mind, but you can’t decide how or where to begin. You end up not writing anything. You’re frozen in fear.

What is this fear that has you trapped? Why can’t you start your story?

Now you could be wondering if you are secure enough in your skills to write this story, or maybe you doubt you can do it. Insecurity and doubt are both defined as being uncertain or, my personal favorite, deficient in assurance. Basically, you lack self-confidence. Be kind to yourself. This is to be expected with any new venture in your life. Give yourself time to settle in. Join a writer’s group, whether in person or on-line. Ask questions. No writer I know of will refuse to answer you. Take classes and go to conferences. Develop the skill to accept criticism without getting angry or whining. Do not compare your output with any other writer. Everyone writes at a speed that suits them best, and I’m not talking about typing speed.

Do you like animation? I do. Grew up with it. A Disney film is pure magic to me. Recently, Disney/Pixar released a movie titled “Inside Out.” It follows Riley as she grows and develops. Fear appears as one of the five main emotions inside her head. “Fear's main job is to protect Riley and keep her safe. He is constantly on the lookout for potential disasters and spends time evaluating the possible dangers, pitfalls, and risks involved in Riley's everyday activities.” (

Fear is not always a bad thing. It can teach you things about yourself you never wanted to know. Nelson Mandela said ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ”

That’s right. Fear can be beaten or at least moved to the back of the class.

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