Writer’s Block and the Fear of Humiliation

A common writing inhibitor is the expectation that your writing will somehow put you at risk for being publicly humiliated. That if you put sentences on paper and make them available to be read, someone will read your words and think that the person who wrote them is an idiot, and then tell that to you or maybe to everyone who goes on the internet. And the thing is….they might.

Why do we have to have an ego – this squirrely inner amalgam of thoughts, perceptions, memories, images, body parts, and who knows what else, that we refer to as “me.” Is that mess really who I am? I sure don’t know, and it consoles me that generations of philosophers far wiser than I have been a bit stumped on the question as well.

What I do know is that the inner gymnastics that writers go through trying to protect their sense of “me” can be potent writing block generators.

The question is, can you get to a place where your worries about humiliation, rejection, being ignored, or being slighted, recede into the background a teensy bit, so you can get on with the writing?

If you are a writer who puts your work out for someone else to read, you’re exhibiting courage, and strengthening your sense of self at the same time. It takes effort and guts, because both your inner world and your outer world may not be wholly supportive of your literary aspirations, and you have to find a way to persevere nonetheless.

You can remember to respect yourself for all of your abilities, and for facing the challenges inherent in the writing life. You can keep in mind that the seemingly unbearable, excruciating experiences of rejection and public humiliation won’t kill you, even if they do come true. You’ll feel like crap for a period of time, but if you don’t throw in the towel, in a while you’ll feel good enough to start that next story.

Maybe, after a long while, the real or imagined rejections will gradually seem less and less like devastating messages about “you,” and more and more like opportunities for learning how to improve your writing. If that seems like a stretch, try to imagine just getting to a place where the fear of humiliation diminishes just enough to not prevent you from writing.

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About David Arnot Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Writer’s Block and the Fear of Humiliation

  1. Carolyn Kennedy says:

    Oh God, this made me laugh, even in this heat. In my mind, I’ve been writing a blog for several years. Maybe I’ll actually start doing it, and forget about being terrified–mostly about being totally ignored.

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