Fear of Writing

Mann writing

Writing is the activity I most enjoy doing (I don’t have a girlfriend at present), and yet, though I enthusiastically await every opportunity to write, hoping to create literary compositions, when I am faced with the blank paper I procrastinate. I do a thousand menial tasks to ‘prepare myself for writing.’ And by the time I am done with them, half an hour or more has passed, and I feel too tired to write and forsake the pen and paper. Alas, it is fear of writing!

Three days ago I procured a notebook. No sooner did I perceive its beautiful blank pages that I felt a great urge to fill it with my profoundest thoughts and deepest emotions. This notebook has been in my possession for 72 hours. It’s still blank.

I want to write short stories, novellas, novels, some fantasy, others realistic, I want to write day and night. I feel I have to. Else I fear I shall be seized by madness. And yet a greater fear posses me, the fear to write…

By the way, I have also ordered a fancy leather-made journal, after reading Anne Frank’s diary the other week. If she poor girl kept a diary, can’t a boy with a hat do so as well?

Alas, I fear the notebook will remain empty by the time I receive the journal. And then, for at least a week, I shall be in an emotional turmoil because I will be unable to make up my mind about which to fill first, the journal or the notebook. And by the time I will make up my mind, Christmas will come, and the holiday spirit will confine me to bed…

What stops me from writing in my new notebook? Fear. Fear that whatever I scribble in it will be so much less than I hope it to be, that my writing cannot convey my emotions and thoughts, at least not to their true extent, that after writing, I shall realize that the blank page looked so much better than the scribbled one. I fear to profane the virgin paper.

Alas, trying to be a writer isn’t easy!

But then I know from experience that once I start writing good things begin to happen, sooner or later. I may have to erase or tear off some pages, but then I’ll find a meaning, a theme, a rhythm worth pursuing. And then I write, and I write some more, and tranquillity ensues, and worry fades from my woeful mind, and if I have a cup of tea nearby, and some raindrops begin to kiss my windowpane as well, then I will cry…

‘Joy and jubilation! This is paradise!’


Are you afraid to write too, at least sometimes?


62 thoughts on “Fear of Writing

  1. If you get the chance check out my latest blog post entitled, “The absolute complete guide to becoming the next great american author” at “captsabino.wordpress.com. It’s an entertaining read but also has some great writing tips. Dig it. thanks Victor

  2. I am rarely afraid to type, with the backspace key just a short leap northeast. But to “ruin” a fresh journal with sloppy handwriting that can’t be deleted? That’s a whole different story.

  3. Fear of writing I feel is common. Not so much the fear of putting your thoughts, ideas and imagination out on a piece of paper. But the fear, that what you write, will do nothing for no one. You will put your heart and soul into a work, only to have no one appreciate it, or tell you how you should find a “real” career. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but yet I find myself waking up day in day out, going to a boring job, that pays the bills. Only to wish I was at a coffee shop, or someone else, writing. Writing about anything or nothing. I do not have a fear of writing, I have a fear of my writing never touching someone the way what I read, touches me. Great post! I love to see how others deal with trying to be a writer.

  4. I don’t fear it, but I know well and good that the infinite possibilities if a blank page far exceeds anything I shall ever write, but I’ve listened to accept this, and collapse the wave form, so to speak, quite willingly. All art is destruction.


  5. Jeezz, my young friend, I am closing in on sixty, and this still happens each time I sit in front of my computer or with a blank sheet of paper. So you are young to already have the key. Never stop!

  6. “Christmas will come, and the holiday spirit will confine me to bed…” Love it! You are writing beautifully about not being able to write! tricky…

      1. Definitely! Best job in the world. Not going to make a million anytime soon but being in the best environment, associating with like minded bibliophiles and serving the public is a win win win.

  7. Maybe the more beautiful the notebook, the greater the fear of writing. Also, the greater your knowledge of the art, the more you have to fear that what you writer will be rubbish.

    I type the first draft on my PC and never correct anything, just to keep the story flowing. Read-through doesn’t come until the end. Then editing for real, which means deleting chunks, cutting and pasting others bits, and generally playing with my piece of writing as if it’s a jigsaw puzzle. Eventually, the pieces fit together. As for writing by hand, that happens on scraps of paper and old envelopes, whenever a random idea, bit of dialogue, snippet of poetry comes to mind.

    By the way, I think your writing is great.

    1. It’s much easier for me to write on a blank, independent A4 that in a notebook. But then I may not be taking it too seriously. A notebook page, or a journal page, demands attention and has a certain dignity, which grows in proportion to the number of blank pages that follow it.

      PS: I blush.

  8. I love notebooks. Most of them to “write my masterpiece”. 99% are new or have some scribble on it. So, I know the feeling. For me, the fear is to begin, after that, I can manage, more or less.

  9. Are you reading my mind?! Its like you have been watching my every move. You are absolutely correct it is fear of writing. I guess, as you propose, we should just write and rewrite. Your post is what I needed.

  10. I tend to prepare for too long. I delay writing because I can flesh out that character a bit more or because I do not know that part of the plot yet, which might have a domino effect on the rest of my writing or because I might come up with a better idea.

    The fear of my writing goes into extensive preparation.

  11. Recently I purchased a pocket Evernote. Because it cost me $35 or thereabouts, it took me great pains to begin writing in it since I was afraid of ruining its blank pages with my horrid handwriting. I have a terrible penchant for perfection. But once I embraced the beauty in imperfection, I couldn’t prevent the urge of filling every blank page with my favourite quotes, favourite lists, favourite ideas – in fact, favourite anything.


    I look forward to the day you start to pen down those incredibly profound thoughts of yours and telling us about it on your blog.

      1. I do, Vincent. It’s a different feel though, writing in a blog and writing in a notebook. Both their purposes are not the same, and personally I believe it’s important to do both as someone who loves to write, even if I don’t claim to be a good one. 🙂

  12. Fear of writing… that to me is tantamount to the fear of breathing. I need them both to live!! I have beautiful journals scattered about and pens of all colors. I write for me and have not a care who it touches or how it affects anyone. Write… breathe… write… breathe… write.

  13. I find a blank page to sometimes be as equally terrifying as a full one. So I figure what the hell, I might as well just fill it with something. 🙂

  14. I think most writers can identify with this fear and this pain you describe. A big step for me was to accept and remember that EVERY writer has these same issues.
    I started listening to a podcast a few months ago – “I Should Be Writing”. I HIGHLY recommend it! It is recorded by a published author who spent the past ten years working to get a book on the shelves, and she finally accomplished it this past year. Something she says regularly is, “You have permission to write crap.” I started repeating this to myself whenever I felt “that fear”, and it’s helped immensely. This week, I made more progress on my 4 year old WIP than I have in the past 2 years combined.

  15. I fear writing because it takes so long. The thoughts fly through my brain at 90 miles an hour. But to write it down? And especially to write in down in detail? I fear it will take me 5 hours when I only want to spend 1/2 at it. And if I do spend just 1/2 hour at it, then I beat myself up because what I’ve written is nowhere near as good as what I imagined.

  16. Ah, now I understand. Well, this is one reason I never procure fancy notebooks – the fear of writing. I scribble on pieces of ordinary paper, and compose on a screen where I can delete the dross. That seems to quell the fear…

  17. Most of my notebooks are blank, because most of them have been gifted to me & are so pretty, that I feel I’ll ruin them with my notes… I often promise myself to change that since the collection of blank notebooks is growing, and I’m often out of paper… I still haven’t though…

      1. Yeeesss… but I need much more peace and calm, and time to write than I possess for the moment. Now, I’m rather fighting with time…

        A short story might be faster though… But will I? …

  18. “Fear of Writing”….?
    No it shouldn’t be the exact word… writing is something needs to be brave because you will dive in dark waters… you will make a journey to yourself, deeper and deeper… and you will get something good and nice from your depths… Writing is something to come face to face with yourself… No one can be ready for this but a writer is a brave one, and he/she knows how to write… even writes with his/her blood too… Think of them dear young man,
    I am sure this is not the word. Thank you, love, nia

    1. My new post has nothing to do with my last one. I’m not sure what connection you find between them.

      I don’t find anything wrong with any of your comments. 🙂

  19. Of course to be a writer is not easy… It is almost a life voyage… Your writing skill and your experiences and stories that you have will make your name….But we were talking about fear of writing… and I tried to share my humble thoughts and my experience…. This is a comment section… Your answer (your next post that you make point) shouldn’t be a reply to my comment. Someone between us nothing understood… Internet is a problem for all of us, in our writing world but also great experience too, especially to learn new things… and also for inspirational touches into the words or art in any place… If you don’t want to see a comment like mine, you may not approve too. Good Luck young man.

  20. I love this and can certainly relate. Except when I do put pen to paper the result is not nearly as deft or clever as your productions. I’ve likened my fear to that of a jailor, the words all restrained at the wrist with no hope of meeting the pen.

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