A writer who was completely stalled confessed to me that her difficulties with finishing her book came from a paralyzing fear of being on television. She was convinced that her book (if finished) would be so good that it was highly likely that she would be asked to go on Oprah and discuss it in front of millions of viewers. The thought of being interviewed by Oprah on television terrified her, and brought her writing to a complete stop.
Getting on Oprah is the Holy Grail for writers hoping to make their mark (and a few million dollars), but many writers are also private, introverted and uncomfortable being the center of attention. You may want your writing to be successful, but the public aspect of making that happen is not every writer’s cup of tea.
Public speaking really helps to promote a book, but it is an entirely different skill from writing. In fact, a good percentage of the general population would rather die than have to do it. One writer admitted to me that he was unable to finish his dissertation after eleven years because finishing would mean he was ready to get a job as a professor, and he was terrified of speaking in front of a class.
The good news is that conditions such as Oprahphobia are treatable. A good public speaking class or a few sessions with a qualified therapist can turn these issues around.
If you find you are eventually able to overcome your fears and finish your book, tell Oprah about it and maybe she’ll let you tell your story on TV.