The Fear

Whenever I’m writing for a new publication, or one I’ve not contributed to for a number of years, or even if I get the opportunity to write for a mag or site I feel is slightly out of my league, I get The Fear.

It’s that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach which makes you worry every sentence you write isn’t quite as perfectly constructed as you’d like. It makes you believe you’re trying too hard, or trying to be too funny, or clever – or, conversely, that you’re not intelligent or amusing enough to pull this off.

It makes you stop what you’re writing and start again. It makes you delete, then retype, then delete. It makes you stop before you start. It makes you write far too many notes, more than you’re ever going to need. It makes you rethink things far too often when your original work was fine in the first place. It makes you procrastinate. It makes you get easily distracted. It makes you write blog posts about it when you should really be getting on with the thing you were supposed to be writing.

And eventually, you get back to your work, finish it, and wonder what you were worrying about.

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2 comments

  1. I get The Fear any time I start something new, like a new job. I always suddenly think “Shit! I can’t do this!” when in fact I’ve been doing that thing for years.

    Take teaching. I’ve come and gone from the teaching profession several times now. I can do it. Quite well, when kids aren’t being absolute shits. But every time I stand up in front of a class after a break of some time, I get The Fear.


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