The internet is a scary place. This is especially true for you and I who put ourselves out there on a regular basis as health writers. Put something out there and just wait for the keyboard warriors to blow it up; even if you’re right. Sometimes, it seems like they only read the title then just disagree with you…”why read the entire article when you can get all the information from the title?”
In such a wide, rather unforgiving internet it can be scary when all we really are trying to do is help people and spread our knowledge. It’s a noble cause but because of the beast the internet is, it can also cause fear to creep in and overtake us. What if everyone hates our writing? What if no one reads it? Do I use too many exclamation points (I had a big problem with that for awhile)?
You may be sitting there thinking, “This guy is full of crap, I have no fear,” but if you are just starting out as a health writer, I know you have fears. While the more veteran writers out there MAY have overcome their fears of rejection and failure, for the newer writers this can be a daily demon you battle. How many times have you not submitted an article to a certain publication because you just knew it wouldn’t get accepted? Or had a good content idea but scrapped it because you were afraid no one would read it?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it happens to us all: even the most veteran or seasoned writers find fear creeping up from time to time. Fear is contagious and is magnetically attracted to people with negative thoughts. This fear can lead to many people not even taking the chances they so badly want to take. This fear usually falls into one of two categories: “fear of failure” or “fear of success.”
Fear of Failure
Well DUH, who hasn’t experience this before (regardless of your experience level)? Your article got rejected… you were criticized…you tried again…another rejection…why the Hell should you try to submit articles again? Talk about your confidence downer! That is exactly what fear of failure is all about: the fear that you can’t reach your goals, the fear of letting people down, and the fear of failing. With this mindset you are screwed before you start!
Think about this: failure is what makes a person. Every single successful person you will ever meet has failed super hard, multiple times. For instance, Donald Trump went bankrupt like 100 times (maybe a slight exaggeration). I’ve been rejected by so many publications it’s not even funny (hold your comments). You have to know yourself and know those rejections don’t mean you are a bad writer; try and try again. Successful writers, businessmen, politicians…etc. all have failed but they ALWAYS get back up; always!
What truly separates the greats from the never-will-bes is that they learn from every one of their failures. They know what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how they can correct it. So the next time they give it a go they take all of that experience and put it into practice. As writers we must do the same.
Fear of Success
You’re going to be successful, you will get there, you will achieve great things (we have faith in you), but even the thought of being successful may be holding you back. Can you handle the success?
This may sound like a strange concept but trust me it creeps into almost everyone’s mind. It’s the fear of actually achieving the success you want but not being able to handle it; aka blowing it. I’m definitely not the most successful health writer out there (or even in the top 15,000) but I’ve had the privilege to be in some great publications and it scared the crap out of me. Upon acceptance to these bigger pubs you will instantly think you are in over your heard or don’t deserve it.
You must get over this fear of success. It can hold you back in so many ways. Being recognized and successful means you will have more followers, more clout, and definitely more criticism. Don’t fear the success, embrace it.
Listen very closely to one of the most important things I’ve learned about criticism: anyone that TRIES to bring you down does it for one reason; they want you down on their level…they are pissed that they can’t reach yours. Don’t take heed to the BS smack talk, the keyboard warriors, the trolling comments…it’s small talk from even smaller people. Go achieve what you want and what you deserve!
I’m definitely far from having fears. In fact, I’m afraid right now that you all will think I’m a completely inept writer. But you know what? I don’t care! I know each and every one of you has the same fears as I do. It’s all about overcoming these fears to share your story and connecting to people that can benefit from it.
For the new writers out there it’s best to develop a thick skin early. Not a thick skin that simply overlooks your mistakes but a thick skin that forgets the haters but also learns from previous mistakes. This is what truly separates the greats from the never-will-bes; they don’t let past failures and fears control their minds.
For the ones still wet behind the ears and even the veterans, remember that you can make a conscious effort to think positive thoughts when it comes to achieving your writing goals and not about fear or failure. Fear is only a bump in the road towards your writing success. Drop that baggage and see how far you can go!
What fears are holding you back as a writer?
Health writer Josh Anderson M.S., AFAA CPT is the founder of Always Active Athletics and loves to blend sustainable practices with science in order to create gentle, yet effective fitness plans to help people get results. He is an outdoor junkie as well!