Writing Jitters: The Reasons Behind the Fears

I am on a stage. A bright lines shines on me from afar and blinds me. I squint and turn my head slightly to see hundreds of people in an audience staring at me. Each and every one of them has their mouths open in a shocked expression.  I look down and my heart stops.

I am naked.

Ahhh, the “naked on a stage” dream. I’m sure many of us have experienced it. I know that I have. As writers, I feel that we have that same vulnerability when we share our writing. It is that moment of nakedness where we are in our simplest and most purest form. We are able to put into writing our innermost thoughts and emotions. We may fear the judgment of our readers or maybe we fear disappointing them. Whatever the reason, every writer at one moment or another has feared.

Why do we do this? Why are we so anxious to share our thoughts with others as writers, but yet so scared to do so? I was responding to a fellow blogger today regarding writing as a child and I had an epiphany. When I was a young girl, possibly twelve or thirteen, I loved to write. I would write stories in my notebook and even began to write a “novel”. From what I remember, I got pretty far in it. One day, I took my journal over to my best friend’s house for a sleepover. Unknowingly to me, I forgot my journal at her house. Several weeks later, my friend called me and in our conversation, she casually mentioned that she found my journal and that she and her friend were reading my story. She said it in a judgmental way and I was mortified. That moment was one of my “naked on stage” moments as a young writer.

I never thought about it until today, but that was the last time that I wrote for enjoyment. Of course I wrote academic writing in school and in college, but I only began writing for enjoyment and others to read a few months ago.

Is it possible that that experience how long ago has scarred me unknowingly for all of these years? I’m sure that self-doubt and lack of self-esteem in general has added to the fears, but this may have as well.

What are your fears as a writer? Why do you have them or what caused them? I’d love to hear from you!

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13 thoughts on “Writing Jitters: The Reasons Behind the Fears

  1. I can identify with the kind of dream you’re talking about. In mine, I’m usually at some social gathering. I interpret it to mean that in my daily life, I think people can see through me, and tell a lot about me (when in actuality they probably can’t). I hate those dreams. Have you ever noticed in the dream that you’re the only one who realizes you’re naked (or in your underwear)?
    Likewise, I’d be mortified even now if someone (like a coworker) found my writings and read it without my approval.

    • Hi! Thanks so much for the comment! That is such a good point about you are the only one realizing that you are naked, must be some self-conscious thing, lol. Yes writings are so personal and I believe permission needs to be given to read them.

  2. I fear I am too prolific, other than that I do not think I have fear – writers should not fear anything. Our words are on display butt naked every time we place one on the page. Perhaps my only little fear is when my daughters read some of my posts and get embarrassed for their poor ol’ mum. Be butt naked and proud of what you write for we are artists and the written word our stage.

  3. Love it! Of course I identify. I haven’t had that dream in particular (but I might now that it’s in my subconscious) 🙂

    One that I have had though, in various forms, is my fear that no one will be happy for me. Honestly. I’ve dreamed that I was pregnant, and I was so excited and was telling my friends, and no one smiled the smile of seeing a glowing woman with child. It didn’t make me cry for some reason, but it did make me hard. Hard is never good. I remember just going to the hospital, waiting alone to experience the joyous moment of meeting what/whoever I had birthed.

    Marsha Norman’s quote, “Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you,” could be the truest thing regarding the meaning of dreams that I’ve ever read. I’ve learned slowly but surely that people *are happy for me and the things I accomplish. Even if it’s just a handful. I’m thankful!!! !!!!!!!!!

    • Hi Victoria!! Thanks so much for the reply! Your dream about being pregnant is so interesting. I find it amazing how our dreams really do tell a lot about our inner thoughts and fears. And thank you for sharing that quote. It is so eloquently stated. And keep up with the writing quotes…I love them! 🙂

  4. It seems that the act of sharing anything we have written makes us very vulnerable. Writing is personal. Even if the subject we are tackling does not have a direct correlation to our own lives, the words that we chose and the ideas we explore all come from us. It is like sharing a bit of our brain, which makes us naked in a sense. And when you are naked, you don’t have a place to hide your flaws.
    –JW

  5. Society is built on a fabric of assumptions. And some of them are erroneous – its unbelievable anyone got to even believe in them. How do you express to society that certain aspects of life are not as they currently appear to be defined. For example in the part ofthe world where I live, there’s a common belief that “its better to own a small part of something big than a big part of nothing/something small” . But think about that sentence for a moment. What if it is not your “raging ambition” to own a part of something big. What if you have very credible and well thought through reasons why you differ. Do you then succumb to pressure just because the presiding/ prvailing sentiment is that you are a fool by sticking to your true guns. I find expressing such forlorn lines of thought in writing to be my greatest challenge.

    • Thanks for the great reply! Yes, writing does put our opinions out on display for everyone else’s opinions…a double-edged sword, perhaps! Either way, don’t be discouraged and keep writing! 🙂

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