Ever since Jeff Goldblum’s character uttered those words in the 1986 film The Fly, he has inspired people to use them in a humorous but sincere way to express anxiety about a current situation.
That includes many aspiring writers I see on social media who are afraid “their WIP will not be well received. I could say, “Oh, I don’t have that fear,” but I would be fibbing. To some extent, anyone who writes wonders about the reception of their creations.
Let’s face it. People who critique books on Amazon can be vicious. Sometimes they may have a good point. Sometimes they’re just jerks who bloviate because they have no life. Ultimately, anything they say is just opinion, nothing more.
Saying that, aspiring writers all over the world still squint their eyes and grit their teeth waiting for a metaphorical slap across the face because someone said something negative about their writing. Understandable. As writers we know we must develop thick skin. The dread, however, still exists.
I wish I could just believe I’m writing because it’s fun, so who cares what others think. But it’s not that easy. Developing a mindset to not care what others think takes time. Some of us are more sensitive than others. You know those people who seem not to give a rip what others think? I wish I could be more like them. But I’m not.
Here’s the number one way I get rid of my anxiety: realize no one is seeing your rough draft. I just write with abandon with the knowledge it’s just for my eyes only.
I might as well enjoy the writing process, right? No one says I have to publish what I’ve written. I mean I’m going to revise anyway, right?
What do I tell myself when I’m ready to submit a piece of writing for publication, whether that be an article or a piece of fiction? It’s this: I’m not going to please everyone. No matter how much I try. I could write the truest, best piece of writing in human history, and someone with nothing better to do will say something about it.
Just realize it may happen and it happens to everyone who writes. Even Ernest freaking Hemingway. Even William sticking Shakespeare. Even J. freaking K. freaking Rowling. Don’t make it your problem. Love the writing process and realize anyone who takes the time to criticize you isn’t a happy person and pretend they just have boils upon their butt.
In the meantime, here are some articles on writing anxiety I’ve come across lately. Each of them has further advice on the subject:
- How to Deal with your Writing Anxiety: 6 Smart Tips that Work
- How to Overcome Fear as a Writer and Embrace Your Profound Courage
- Face Your Writing Fears
- How to Enjoy Writing and Make the Most of NaNoWriMo
- Share Your Writing