Being Held Back by Your Fear of Writing? Here’s What to Do

You Are a Writer Already, Whether You Believe It or Not

Say it with me now before we start this blog post. I am a writer today. I am aspiring to be a better writer every day but I am already a writer.


I don’t know about you but as a child or even as an adult, I did not dream of becoming a writer. I had many dreams but writing – and not only that but what I do today which is writing for a living – never ever crossed my mind.

And yet writing has changed my life. It has transformed my profession, it has brought a ridiculous amount of joy to my work, and it has unleashed my creativity and my abundance. Writing has been nothing short of a miracle.

But in order to write, you have to get over your fear of writing. Fast.

What fear of writing, say you?
Let me explain.

First, learn to identify the beast. The fear of writing shows up in disguise because it is a scary pathetic thing, that’s why.

It hides behind lame excuses and it holds your writing gift hostage with lies and nonsense. It is slowly murdering your writing dreams and you are a partner in the crime if you let it.

It is making you forget that you are an empowered gifted soul to this world and being held back is not a hassle you want to deal with on your journey.

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
― Stephen King, On Writing

5 Most Popular Lame Excuses that Cripple Your Writing Dream

Now, let’s bust the 5 most popular lame excuses that cripple your writing dream:

Excuse #1: Nobody wants to read what I write.

How do you know that my dear? How if you haven’t written enough? Is it really true? Or is it just your negative thinking telling you of a grim future that has no basis?

You do not know until you do it and there are people in this world who will need to hear the message only in your exact words and with your unique writing voice. Don’t deprive them of the gift. They are waiting for you to emerge. Write for them.

Excuse #2: I am not a good writer.

So what? You are a writer. That’s where you start. That’s where ALL writers start. And now you get better.

Stephen King admits that there are bad writers. Lots of them. But heck, even bad writers are out there writing. A bad writer is better than no writer because a bad writer is trying, and that’s the spirit you want to embody. That and do everything to become a good writer.

Excuse #3: I don’t have time to write.

You have as much time as everybody else. But you also have the choice to decide what to do with your time. Obligations are not an excuse. Entertainment and wasting time is a choice. And adding writing to any lifestyle is possible.

How do I know? Because it’s been done before a thousand times by mere human beings. You are a human being and the only difference is that now, you have a lot more advantage with technology and tools and so much more than anyone who came before you. I mean, they used to type novels on a typewriter!!!! Imagine that.

Excuse #4: English isn’t my first language.

I love you but give me a break. English is my 3rd language and yes, I still struggle with it even 25 years later, but I would never let that excuse fly.

Don’t take or accept that excuse for a minute. If you want to write in English, write. If you struggle, learn the language better but write in it anyway. If you want to write in your own common tongue, then write that way. Drop this excuse fast, this is the lamest one of all.

Excuse #5: I don’t know what to write about.

Yes you do. Deep down, when you let go of feeling embarrassed or silly about what you want to write about, then you can get to it. I must share my all time favorite quote from Stephen King on this:

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all …. as long as you tell the truth.”
Stephen King

Your truth, whatever that may be. Not someone else’s but always your own truth.

Ah those nasty ugly excuses! They have ruined many writing dreams! Are you letting them ruin yours? Because the unsung songs of your heart will leave a deep mark of regret. If you want to write, well then, you need to write, come hell or high water. You need to do it today and stop putting it off to tomorrow.

Don’t let these lame excuses hold you back. Catch them next time they are whispering in your ear. Stop what you are doing and set the record straight. You are a writer and you won’t be held back. Period.

3 Things Successful Writers Never Forget to Do

I won’t lie to you. Writing isn’t easy but it is not complicated either. It’s hard work but not complicated. All you have to do is to show up and write.

Inspiration helps. I have learned a lot from successful writers that I adore. My contemporary favorites are Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin. Today they are massively successful and good for them. Every ounce of it is well-deserved.

So what do they know that you and I can learn to do in our writing journey. Here are the 3 things these successful writers never forget to do:

1. Stephen King: On finding someone that believes in you no matter what.

Stephen King attributes all of his success to the love of his life, his wife, Tabby. “Tabby never voiced a single doubt, however. Her support was a constant, one of the few good things I could take as a given.”

And he goes on to tell us in On Writing (which if you have not read, you must drop everything instantly and get to it), “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.

2. J.K.Rowling: On getting super comfortable with failure. Or else living with the ultimate failure.

You may be afraid that nobody will read your writing or care about it and hence you will be wearing the badge of failure. Right?

Well, it would do well to start with J.K. Rowling’s words, and let me remind you that she was in a more desperate situation when writing Harry Potter than many of us will ever know.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

And so there’s the choice, either becoming a failure by default for holding your writing hostage in your heart lest it becomes a ‘failure’ in print, or putting it out there and giving it a chance to do what it may – it may rise or it may fall. But it can only RISE if it’s out there, not if it’s held hostage in your heart.

3. George R.R.Martin: On using writing as a way to escape into your ultimate gift, your imagination.

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.” George R. R. Martin

You do not need imagination just to write fiction. You can write a business book with imagination by applying the way you imagine the world to the way it is now and how it can be improved, altered for the better and for the future generations. You can write blog posts with imagination. You can write anything with imagination as long as you are speaking your truth and not just making up stuff to make up stuff.

The masses may  say writers are born. They may say writers are gifted with a special “gene”. Or writers cannot be taught or learned or created. That’s because the masses want an easy way out, confusing it with happiness and contentment.

You could believe them of course.
OR you could decide you want something more, stop listening to the masses, and start writing your truth today.

Because after all, you are a writer, and I bet already a good one, and a writer, well, writes even as life happens around you, write. Let the writing begin.

If you want even more confidence and encouragement to follow your dream of writing, hop on the list below and grab my 21 step confidence building course now:

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps

  • Ritesh Mendiratta

    I like everything coming from your side .

    Thanks your words inspire.

    • Farnoosh

      Thank you so much!

  • Sudhir Suvarna

    I need help for self publishing….have lots of ideas on my mind….I can write about Project Management, Mid-career crisis, Social media and lots more..don’t know where to start….Also, how do I market self-published books and how does the payment work ?

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Sudhir, that’s a great topic for a book. And book marketing and the writing process are all very important work. This is the type of work that I do with my clients. If you are interested, check out the coaching page and drop me an email.

  • Melly Deen

    I love George R R Martin’s quotation about the power of imagination and fantasy and dream. Fiction is a gift to us and I am so glad that he chooses to share his gift. His story is super inspirational. Great stuff here today, Farnoosh.

    • Farnoosh

      The Game of Thrones is as addictive as it is good, Melly. Check it out if you haven’t and keep writing!! :)

  • Sandra Pawula

    This is perfect, Farnoosh! Writers need encouragement. You are like our Tabby! Making time is the big one for me. When you make time, you are actually making a commitment to yourself as a writer.

    I loved the Stephen King quote in particular. Thank you for this.

    • Farnoosh

      Best compliment: “our Tabby” ! Oh Sandra, have you read “On Writing”? It is one of the BEST books I have ever read. I can’t recommend it enough. King rocks. And so do you. Keep writing please. And thanks for stopping by.

  • Jamie Cunningham

    Thanks again for another encouraging post, Farnoosh. I spent the last 2 years of my doctorate degree writing a 100 page dissertation and I have wasted the last year not getting a condensed version published! I suppose I needed a mental health break, but I also believe I, too, was scared to start! I would love to get this off of my “to do” list and thank you for the timely post!

    • Farnoosh

      Jamie, goodness, you have got to get that hard work out there – but in your case, I totally hear you – needing a complete break from that concentrated intense work is natural. I hope you can always tell the difference between taking breaks and being scared to move forward and happy writing. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Monica Bourgeau

    Farnoosh – thank you so much for the inspiration this morning. This was exactly what I needed! I haven’t read Stephen King’s book yet either but can’t wait to get it. Thanks again!

    • Farnoosh

      Sweet. And I am giving you immediate homework, Ms. Monica :)> : You MUST read “On Writing” and then listen to the audio version read by Mr. King himself. It will change the way you write and the way you see the world, for that matter. I am in love with him and his writing …..

  • Monica Bourgeau

    I sure will, I can’t wait :)

  • David V.

    Thank you for this Farnoosh! I actually started writing a blog post tonight – I have been thinking about doing it for weeks and weeks, but I fell victim to excuses 1 and 2 here, as we so often do. 5 minutes later I checked your website to see the title “Being Held Back by Your Fear of Writing?” and I couldn’t help but laugh. Perfect timing. :) I will pick up the pen and keep on going. Thanks for your encouragement as always, I have been reading your blog for a few months now and it has triggered a lot of positive change in my life. I hope one day I can do the same for others!

    • Farnoosh

      That’s alright, David. You and I both. It happens to the best of us but you are recognizing your beast and moving past it. I’m proud of you. Thank you for sharing your writing and next time you comment, link up to that blog post, I wanna see it!

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  • Oana

    Dear Farnoosh,

    You have a realistic and yet encouraging message about the dream to write for a living!:) I like all the ideas you expressed and the way you expressed them. I like in particular the idea that there are people interested in reading what you want to write about as long as you write about your own truth.

    I also believe there are excellent, good and bad writers. I am sure there is no particular recipe for improving your writing but besides reading and writing a lot, it may help to have someone (a friend, your spouse, etc) who is willing to read and give feedback on all the drafts.

    As always, big thanks for your post!

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Oana, Thanks for sharing your insights. And feedback is always a good thing but it comes with its own perils. Stephen King says that if you want to do that, give your writing to say 5 or 10 people and if a majority comment on the same thing, change it. If you get random comments, stick with it or go with your gut. Make sense? Good luck dear Oana and keep writing!

      • Oana

        I agree that others may have their own view on your writing. You need to be careful that in the end, your writing echoes your voice and not the voices of reviewers. Being aware of what your gut tells you is crucial. :)

        Thank you!

  • Christopher Quinn

    Hi Farnoosh

    The biggest issue for me is the “time to write”. Trying to squeeze in any time to write what I feel at that moment becomes very difficult. Having only a small window each day, usually early in the morning around 5 a.m. I am not at my most productive time as I virtually roll out of bed and hit the computer. Its usually not until after 10 a.m., a couple cups of coffee consumed that I start to get motivated to write something of value.

    Enjoyed your interview on Yaro’s podcast, very interesting and motivating!



    • Farnoosh

      Chris, I hear you I really do – I have tried writing at all hours and that early morning takes a lot of getting used to. So can you change your responsibilities around to give you 30 minutes of quiet time at 10am? Maybe skip a break, or get to work earlier or whatever it may be. Just 30 minutes. I bet you can find a way. Get creative. Glad you enjoyed the Yaro post.
      Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Kay Fudala

    Dear Farnoosh, Its nice to stop by after a long time! This entire post reminds me of my recent comment on something that Charlie Gilkey had written a while ago and said: “Perhaps we shouldn’t aspire to become superstars. No one wants to create their art to stay relevant.”

    Writing at its core is an art. A child isn’t too scared to draw or perform. Singers, actors and performers are not afraid of bringing out their best. Then why are we writers afraid of writing? You have nailed with your five reasons, especially reason #5. A different version of it would be “What if I want to change what I am writing about?” To quote Stephen King “change it to any damn thing you want.”

    Beautiful post with beautiful quotes. Thank you for being an inspiration!

    • Farnoosh

      Hello dearest Kay, welcome back. Love the comparison of writing to art…… and indeed, you have permission to write about whatever your heart desires. After all, that’s where the truth lies. I can’t wait to read more of your posts, Kay. I pop in now and again to check on you, so keep writing please.

  • Ashley P

    I use to use excuse #2 all the time, I would write a ton of stuff but would never show it to anyone for the fear that they would say it was bad because I thought it was bad. Then one day my husband found some of my writing and read it and told me that it was great and that I needed to share it. Thanks for the great advice!

    • Farnoosh

      Ashley, let them say it’s bad. So what? They are not your reader. You’ll need to find someone else to show it to then. And I hope if you don’t listen to me, you listen to your hubby then :) Share the writing, Ashley. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  • Gerri

    After reading this, what is stuck in my mind is that we put barriers to us overcoming obstacles with “silly” little excuses. We can “write” and do whatever else we want to do in life if we are willing to stop making excuses and just pretty much “do it”!

    • Farnoosh

      Exactly Gerri…. well-said …. use the Nike motto: Just Do It! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Diane Holcomb

    A timely post for me, exactly what I needed to read. I especially like this line: “You can write anything with imagination as long as you are speaking your truth and not just making up stuff to make up stuff.” Yes! I’ve been stuck in my writing the past two days, and this sentence illuminated why.
    I recently posted my excuse of what holds me back:

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Diane, that post was freaking hilarious and brilliant – just shared it on Twitter and LOVE love your writing voice …. You Must Keep Writing :)! And that post was pure truth so I know you know how to write from that place… thanks ever so much for sharing those insights here, Diane, and come back anytime except when you are in the middle of writing of course ;)!

  • Diane Holcomb

    Thanks so much for your kind words! They mean a lot. I love your blog and will definitely keep following.

  • An

    Love this post, Farnoosh.
    I so resonate with the “English is not my first language” excuse. English isn’t my first language either and starting to write in English felt like the most silly and stupid idea ever :) Yet I felt pulled to write in English and now I’m so glad I listened to my gut and not to the”can’t do” ramblings of my mind!

    • Farnoosh

      Hi An, so very glad you went with the most wonderful “silly stupid” idea and gladder still that you stopped by to tell me about it. English is the way of the blogging – I feel – even if most of us speak a different Mother Tongue. :)

  • Christy Farmer

    This post is brilliant, Farnoosh and one every writer should read.

    You wrote about ‘the masses’ with such eloquence. Thank you for writing this.

    The quotes are great—especially the one from Stephen King. :-)

    • Farnoosh

      HI dear Christy, welcome here and thank you. So very glad you are inspired. King has inspired me to my core and JK Rowling and George RR Martin, no words. Keep writing, and come back anytime.

  • David Sanford

    Thanks for this helpful article addressing fear head-on.

    Over the past decade I have worked successful individuals publish their first books more than 100 times. No matter how successful someone is, we all have to understand, quickly recognize, and know how to defeat the top 5 professional fears. They are:
    1. The fear of silence
    2. The fear of sharing
    3. The fear of selling
    4. The twin fears of rejection and failure
    5. The fear of success

    Not surprisingly, most (not all) successful individuals initially assume they are the exception to the rule. “Fear? Who me? No way.”

    “No fear” isn’t just a Millennial motto for the adventurous. It’s a way of life. I know all this, yet yesterday I got hit with 1 of the 5 professional fears and responded 180 degrees opposite of what I know to do in such situations.

    I still believe “No fear” is a way of life, but it’s an imperfect way. Every time we give into fear, we need to humbly acknowledge it, remind ourselves what to do next time, and then move toward that “next time” as quickly as possible.

    –David Sanford

    • Farnoosh

      Hi David, and welcome here. Thanks for sharing your insights. I can’t agree with you more. The fear I don’t think ever goes away – it’s just that we get stronger and smarter about managing it …. No fear is a great motto, but I don’t take it entirely literally. :)

      • David Sanford

        Thank YOU! I love what you’re doing…

  • Manoj

    Dear Farnoosh,
    The post is really awesome. It gave clarity to shed my inhibition about writing. You did address most of my barriers. I am going to take my first step in writing. I shall send the same to you once done.
    thanks once again


    • Farnoosh

      Manoj, couldn’t be happier to hear it. Start moving in that direction with your writing and I wish you the absolute best ….

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