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Fight the Fear of Feeling Naked

Fight the Fear of Being Naked

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did you ever have a dream about going to school naked? I sure did.

Does that happen to you anymore?

It probably happens more than you think, but in a different form.

Many writers dream of success in the form of a book publication, career freedom through a successful blog or a consistent list of clients to write for on a daily basis in a freelance writing career.

However, there is one aspect of writing that creeps up on many writers that isn’t much different from that dream of everyone laughing at you in class because you forgot your pants.

I’m talking about the fear of exposure.

I often feel like people don’t want to read what I have to say.

Why? Writing reveals sensitive, personal information that informs others of insecurities, emotions and secrets.

The fear of exposure is especially apparent when sharing your writing with family members, friends and coworkers. They don’t know you as the writer who spills everything to create a piece of art. Will people judge you? Will friends make fun of you? Could your writing even cause trouble at your day job?

Unfortunately, fear of exposure is the equivalent to the fear of success.

So how can you battle this nightmare of rejection and ridicule?

Join Forces

Failure is a natural part of life, particularly in the realm of writing. This is what forces many people to house a manuscript in their desk for years or refuse to contact other bloggers to make connections.

When I auditioned for the musical in high school, I was terrified of not receiving the part I desired, or worse, not being selected at all. As a freshman, I didn’t know anyone who performed in the musicals, so I asked my football friend to join me at the audition.

I didn’t get the part I originally wanted. In fact, I was cast as a background dancer. I had never danced in my life. I only acted and sang. Thankfully, this rejection was soothed by the laughter of my friend, who told me to try it out in case I actually liked it. Lucky for me, I did two years of backup dancing and during my senior year I gained a lead role.

Having a friend to laugh at failures and push you further is imperative for the sanity of writers or any other artist.

Jump in the Water

I spent a few weeks in Monterosso, Italy where some friends and I were dared to jump off a forty foot cliff into the cold Mediterranean Sea. As I climbed to the top of the black, jagged rock my knees trembled and the sea suddenly seemed much smaller than the heap of boulders that jutted out from the water.

I mustered up the confidence and jumped – and let me tell you it was wonderful.

Sometimes the road to excitement, success and great experiences makes you want to hurl. Being exposed through your writing is the only road to success. Everyone wants the publication deal and book tours, but the road to get there is daunting. All writers want that feeling of refreshment and joy, but the sharp rocks make it a bit frightening.

The only solution is to jump in the water and hope for the best, because it’s only natural to be nervous.

Fear acts as a filter for success. If no one had any fear everyone would be successful.

Imagination

An old football coach of mine used to preach the importance of imagining yourself making multiple successful plays before a game started. He instructed the team to close our eyes and visualize every aspect of making the perfect throw, catch, block or tackle.

This mentality links your mind to your actions and allows you to actually perform more confidently.

The same goes for writing.

Visualize yourself writing everyday, clacking away at your keyboard or scribbling on a notepad. Then visualize yourself sharing your work with people you know and with people who could turn it into something more, like a publisher. Visualize an email, call or meeting where your writing is accepted, paid for or praised.

Reality starts in your mind. It may not end exactly the way you envisioned. You may get bumped a few times before making the tackle, but doing something a second time is always a little easier.

Post in the comments section to share your experience with fear and how you overcome it.

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

  • http://moviejoltz.com moviejoltz

    Thanks for reminding me of how far I have come with my writing. My 7th grade teacher told me I would amount to nothing when I told her I wanted to be a writer.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Glad you proved her wrong. :)

  • http://www.deepathrissur.wordpress.com deepathrisur

    Thank you for the tips on writing.
    It kind of spoke what I had on my mind.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Great minds right? :)

  • http://www.waldorfsaladandcottagefries.com andrea

    Thanks for the great post. I need it today:)

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Thanks Andrea, glad I could help!

  • http://stevemclain.wordpress.com Steve McLain

    This reminds me of impostor syndrome. If you start believing you’re an impostor and don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute, you’ll sabotage your chances at ever succeeding. I fall prey to this with my writing, with my full time career, and even in my role as a father. I have my confidence rocked frequently, but staying engaged and persevering teaches me I am capable. Great post here. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Sounds exactly like that. Glad you keep persevering!

  • http://susancallhutchison.wordpress.com Susan Call Hutchison

    I had to laugh at my reaction to your inspirational quote: Fear acts as a filter for success. If no one had any fear… uh, they’d be dead, right? Fear acts as a filter for bravado. But I started wondering what it would be like to have no irrational fear: being willing to confront whatever circumstance and using judgement and wisdom, choosing how — and even whether — I want to tackle a situation. Fear of being run down by Semis doesn’t make me a successful driver. Knowing what huge trucks are capable of, knowing what my car is capable of, and observing and reacting to the situation in the present makes me a successful driver on the freeway. Oh, by the way, I’m not afraid to write or share my writing. I think that is because I had parents who encouraged me and great teachers. I am afraid of big trucks, however. I grew up and learned to drive in a tiny rural area. After my first child was born (34 years ago) something snapped and I couldn’t make myself get behind the wheel of a car. My husband noticed the change, and made a safe way for me to get back into the drivers seat. Step by step — and I mean in REALLY small gradients — he encouraged me to just sit in a parked car, then turn on the engine, then drive half a block. And he was there beside me as I hyperventilated and cried at my frustration with the panic that made me pull over so soon. He understood. He praised me for what I had done. He didn’t mock my fear. He made me look at my courage. That seems like a world ago now. I am absolutely certain if I had not been married to Marc for the last 35 years, I would not be where I am now, happy, confident and pursuing my dreams. But I don’t think marriage is the only answer to fear! Help and support are available. There are so many people out there who WANT you to succeed. Be one, and you will will find them.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      Great words, and a very inspirational story. You always have to pick at my writing though don’t you? :) I never thought of it like that, but yes we would all indeed be dead if we had no fear. Thanks for the post Susan. I hope all is well.

  • http://[email protected] Elizabeth Mroz

    You made me laugh telling about your high school “acting adventures.” I tried through three years until I got one of the leads as a senior in our school play. I loved drama as much as I love writing. I have been trying for many years to write for children. Presently, I send in many manuscripts many times, but so have other authors before they are published. I write a weekly column for my local newspaper which has been successful. I write and write and write with a passion. I enjoy reading encouraging blogs like yours. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      It seems like it always takes several years to grab that lead! Thanks for the kind words Elizabeth. Keep writing.

  • Shana

    Great blog. In fact, I think I’ll save this and read it again from time to time when I feel like my writing isn’t good enough. Thank you for your inspiring words!

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      I’m glad you liked it Shana!

  • http://www.evelyneholingue.com evelyneholingue

    Great post, Joe. Many writers dislike public events and I’m one of them. Not because I don’t like people. Actually I love people. But standing in front of an audience to present my novel is hard work for me. And yes, I have been tempted to call in sick. I’m glad I never did, though. Because past the first horrible seconds when my heart beats so fast I think people can hear it, when my cheeks feel so red I think they will run away, afraid I’m running a fever, when I feel like I forgot everything I had planned to say, when these first seconds are gone, finally I calm down and I enjoy the moment.
    So yes, there is no recipe except to dive in!
    Thanks again and best to your new book.

    • http://www.writewithwarnimont.com/ Joe Warnimont

      I’m the same way with presenting in public. It takes a few minutes to get over my sweats but it’s always worth it afterwards.

  • http://princessofthelight.wordpress.com MRS N, the Author

    Thank you for following my blog Princess of the Light and I really loved this post! Writing can be scary and your post reminds me that I need to release that fear! Thank you and have a fabulous day!

  • http://thebarefootedbookworm.wordpress.com The Barefoot Bookworm

    Very interesting post–I wonder how the fear of exposure would translate across cultures?

  • http://www.contentbydawn.com Dawn-Reneé Rice

    Great article! It’s funny because it hits home with me on something that happened just last night. I wrote a blog post yesterday and shared it on FB, where one of my cousins responded in a sarcastic way. It wasn’t anything controversial; just a post about how to buy and eat organic when you’re on a budget. For whatever reason, it hit her wrong and because of her response I immediately wanted to delete it and not risk any more “exposure.” That fear is something that does cripple me at times. Same with connecting with other bloggers because I think I’m not good enough, or the fact that it took me six months to get back to writing my memoir. Love and fear are the only two things that matter in life, and when we allow fear to reign it can be crippling indeed. I am determined, however, to not let fear ruin how far I’ve come and how far I know I can go.

  • http://www.freelancefromscratch.com Karen Martínez P.

    Great work, Joe!

    I like how you describe it.

    I think the best way to overcome fear is simply close your eyes and jump. In this case, hit Publish.

    You can think and rehearse but it doesn’t really matter until you actually do it.