Four Lists For Fear Management

spidey fear-smallerThis past week I got another email from my editor with some final edits. A knot sat in my stomach, and I couldn’t open the attachment. I chose to look at it earlier the next day. That gave me time to loosen the knot and talk myself off the ledge. This isn’t the first time I have wrestled with knots of fear and nervousness over an editor’s email. So, I’ve learned a few things to help me battle fear. I never open an attachment right away. I read the email but leave the attachment for a time when my mind is fresh and focused Because fear raises its ugly head often in a writer’s life (at least in this writer’s life), I have a few methods to deal with it. Some work others are just, well, stupid. Let me share my strategy lists with you. First, the…

Stupid list

Never work on the edits suggested. Instead, throw the manuscript in a drawer and ignore it.

Whine and complain about my inability to get it right.

Watch lots of TV and find other excuses not to work on my project.

Have an imaginary discussion/argument with my editor over the suggested changes.

Take on the mantras “I’m not worthy.” Or “I’m not good enough.” Recite them often.

Well you can imagine how much I don’t get done following this check list. An old teacher often said. “Stupid is as stupid does.” Doing stupid doesn’t advance my writing goals.

Knowing fear can bring on the “stupids,” I created a…

check list-tiny

Better list

Plan a time to rework and rewrite according to editor’s suggestion.

Watch less TV.

Talk to my hubby about my fears to help release the knot in my stomach.

Pray a lot for wisdom.

Meet deadline even if its close.

Tell myself “I can do this.”


This is obviously more helpful. But I feel I could do better yet. I have an ideal state of mind I hope to reach before I pass from this life to the next. Her is my…


Best List

Pray against my fears. Remind myself God has given me this opportunity and He will guide me.

Spend time in praise to God for all his care for me.

Rise early and get the job done. Allowing plenty of time to get it done.

Send project in before the deadline.

If there is no quiet place at home to work. (With my full house that can be a challenge.) Go to the library.

Share with my hubby how excited I am to refine this project.

Resist any and all distractions. Including my favorite TV shows.

Along with the attached reworked manuscript send a note of appreciation and thanks for all my editor does for me.


This list is still out of reach. My reality is a combination of all of the above because fear wrenches my resolve to follow the best list. And I am wracked with guilty if I follow the stupid list.


My real list

I pray both for wisdom and confidence.

I remind myself I am love by Jesus and draw strength from that.

I talk to my hubby expressing my fears while I share my strategy for completing the edits.

I complain about my shortcoming, mostly to myself and God.

I set time aside to get the project done after watching more TV then I intended. By then I’m no longer sitting on the fear ledge. My mind is fresh when I sit down to do it.

I meet my deadlines, even it is closer than I would like.

I send a thank you and word of praise to my editor along with the attached corrections.

When I’ve won the battle

After completing the project and turning it in I bask in the confidence high I get from pressing the send button. Then I take time to work on some new writerly thing while I feel empowered. Because, it won’t be long before I feel fears presents. It lurks just around the corner prepared to rope me in when my writing world gets tough again.

How do you deal with your writer’s fears? I’d love to hear your strategy.


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