Fear of Writing | #1

I am so excited because my podcast, Inside the Writer's Soul, has finally launched! This podcast focuses on how personal experiences can inform your writing, and help you speak from the soul to really connect with readers and other authors as well. In this community for authors from any genre, background, or publishing type, we’ll also help you tackle challenges in all things writing including mindset, marketing, mental health, the muse, and more. Your writer’s soul doesn’t need to take the writing and publishing journey alone…join me and let’s move forward together. In this first episode, you'll hear:

  • Why I started this podcast to build a community of authors
  • My love of cursing
  • How my fear of writing was actually a strength.
  • The personal story shared in this episode: the start of my writing journey in 2013

“As I realized I had control over my writing, as I realized I had control over that FEAR of writing, it also made me realize I had control over other things in my life, too.”

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Overcome a Fear of Writing
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You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and more. Find links to all the apps here. If you like listening to the audio on video, you can also watch via my YouTube channel, or just read the transcript for the episode, too (you'll find it at the bottom of the page). You can also support the podcast (and me!) on Patreon

After you listen, join our podcast community on Facebook or comment below and let me know: Do you or did you have a fear of writing like me?

I also have a FREE worksheet to help you refine your (or your character's) fears and help you share your stories with others. Just enter your info below.

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[00:00:00] You may write alone, but you are not alone. Inside the Writer's Soul focuses on how personal experiences can inform your writing and help you speak from the soul to really connect with readers and other authors as well. Your writer's soul doesn't need to take the writing and publishing journey alone. Join me, your host, M. Khan, and let's move forward together.

[00:00:29] Welcome to the first episode of Inside the Writer's Soul. In this episode, I want to talk a little bit about why I started this podcast, who this podcast is for, and also share a little bit about my writing journey. First, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Mehvish Khan, or M. Khan, and I am a writer. I am an author. I started this podcast because I wanted to build a community for authors where we can share our stories, not just the stories that we're writing, but also the personal stories that we don't always share with others. I'll be sharing personal stories throughout this podcast, not just this episode, but future episodes as well. And there will also be an online community where you can share your own stories and get help or support as you need it.

[00:01:24] A few things to learn about me is that I have written under a pen name. I've written over 20 novels, novellas and short stories all within the last five years, so I'm fairly prolific and I also understand the self-publishing arena. But this podcast is not just for self-published authors. If you're unpublished or traditionally published or hybrid published, this podcast is still for you because this podcast is for authors from any genre, background, or publishing type, and we'll help you tackle challenges in all things writing, including mindset, marketing, mental health, the muse, and more. Though I am a fiction writer, that does not mean that non-fiction writers are unwelcome. You are absolutely welcome here because you also have stories to share just like the rest of us, and we welcome you.

[00:02:21] So now I'm going to be sharing my first story with all of you. I'm a little bit nervous, so I hope you'll bear with me. So today I'm going to talk about my own writing journey for this first episode. So I am a woman of color. I am American, born and raised, with a family of Pakistani descent and I'm a Muslim woman as well. So for a very long time, I had a fear of writing. Some of that was cultural. Some of that was other pressures that I'll talk about in future stories I share. But it really boils down to having a fear of just being myself. We so often feel a pressure to be someone else when we're around certain people. And I don't think this is just in regards to my own culture, but other cultures and situations that you may have gone through as well. We have to act a certain way. We have to dress a certain way. We have to speak a certain way. Me, personally, I love to curse. I curse in my writing. I curse in real life. And I will be cursing on this podcast. So if that is something that bothers you, I am warning you ahead of time.

[00:03:41] But that fear of being myself translated into a fear of writing. Sometimes you feel that pressure to go with a career that's more universally accepted or maybe more accepted than being a writer. One of the things I've learned is that sometimes there's an automatic disinclination to believe someone when they say their dream is to write. If I say I want to write, if I say I want to be an author, the first thing I have usually heard is, "Well, how are you going to make money doing that? How are you going to actually make a career out of that? You need to pick something more practical." And that's a theme I have seen a lot through my own life, is that I am not encouraged or I was not encouraged to be creative, but I was instead required to be practical. And I am a very practical person, but I am also a very creative person as well. And writing is just one of the venues I use to be creative. Financially, I am not in the place yet where I can write full time, though that is the goal I am working towards. So I do still have that day job that is more sort of accepted for my life, but there is a reason why I use a pen name.

[00:05:07] The truth is, the majority of people in my "real" life would not support me as I pursue my dream of writing full time. I have a lot of naysayers in my life who have not necessarily supported those more traditionally accepted degrees or careers or jobs. So I don't feel comfortable sharing with them this other part of my life because I don't want any naysayers in my dream.

[00:05:38] I love constructive criticism and, as a writer, that's something you absolutely have to learn how to accept. But just criticism for the sake of criticizing, because I'm doing something maybe a little bit different than generations in my family have done before, I don't really see that as a reason to criticize. I don't see that as a valid criticism of my life, and so that's one reason why I write under a pen name. Now, I've decided as I've gone back, especially over the last couple of years, and really face this fear I have of writing that I really want to write under my own name as well. And I wanted to build a community of authors where we could all feel comfortable sharing with each other and where we could all feel safe and accepted and get the help and support that we need. And that was really the impetus behind starting this podcast.

[00:06:36] It took me a long time to get over that fear of writing. And in some cases I still struggle with that a little bit. So it was 2013 when I was in a really bad place, I will say emotionally, and in certain aspects of my life were not that great when I decided, you know, if I don't pursue this dream now, when am I going to do it? Something happened in my life at that point where I just decided, you know, it has to be now or never. If I really want to do this, I need to commit to doing it. And I didn't really tell people I was doing it. Nobody in my family knew. None of them really still know. A few of my very close friends knew that I had started writing. But it was tough. It wasn't easy to put those first words on the page as I typed them. But I had written story ideas for ages inside, you know, notebooks that I kept hidden away. I had written all kinds of different things. And so I decided, you know what? Now is the time to do it. So I picked an idea and I started writing. And it wasn't until that a took a sort of quick draft or fast drafting course that writing really started to gel for me and a process really started to emerge for me.

[00:08:05] And I found ways to write even faster. And I found ways to work in the writing in-between doing the day job, doing a side day job in some cases or another side job and, in some cases, also going to school as well. But I did it and I decided to self-publish. And so in 2014, I started self-publishing my novels and novellas and short stories. And yes, the first few stories were completely terrible. They were awful. But you know, what's worse than an awful story is no story at all.

[00:08:47] I encourage you if you're someone like me who has a fear of writing, just start putting words on the page. You might think that you'll never finish that first book or that first story, whether it's a short story or a novella or a full-length novel. It's so easy to tell yourself that you won't finish it. But one of the tricks I did was to say I'm going to finish it because there were so many people in my life at that point who are saying negative things to me, negative things about me, negative things to me. I thought for this, for my dream, I am not going to be negative to myself. I am not going to be negative to my writing. And I really forced myself. It was really, really difficult because I have really low self-esteem, or I did at that time, definitely. And I still do it in some respects. But to force myself to really say, you know what? No one else is going to nurture this dream of mine. No one else is going to help me to write. No one else can get, in my words on the page the way I want them there. So it's up to me. This is completely in my hands.

[00:09:57] And you know what, having that sense of control when so many other parts of my life were not in control, that's really what gave me the courage and the strength to continue. Because I don't think as writers, what we realize is that we hold the power of our own books in our hands, whether we're typing, whether we're dictating books, whether we're writing them down by pen and paper. We hold complete control over our books. And it was really understanding that I had that control, that I had control over my fear as well, that I didn't need to give in to it, that I could keep writing, that I could keep finishing one book. And after I finish the first story, I started on the next and then the next and then the next. And here I am five years later and I've written over 20 and I can't believe it. So I think about how much things have changed in the last five years for me and how much writing has impacted me and really it has changed my life for the better.

[00:11:06] As I realized I had control over my writing, as I realized I had control over that fear of writing. It also made me realize I have control over other things in my life, too. I don't necessarily have to listen to all the voices in my life telling me that I'm not good in this way or I'm not good in that way, or that I'm only good if I do this or that. I have more control over my life than I realize. And that gives you power, that gives you the courage and the strength you need to keep going. Now, for some of you, writing full-time might not be your goal and it might not be the dream that you're working towards, and that is perfectly okay. No matter what your dream is, you can still achieve it no matter what your goal is. Even if your goal is to be a part-time writer because you want to keep your day job or because you only want to do freelance writing or you only wanted to do, you know, X, Y and Z type of writing. There's so much you can do as a writer, as an author, and it is all achievable.

[00:12:14] Now that I've shared the start of my writing journey, I want to hear from you. Do you or did you have a fear of writing like me? Head to my blog and our podcast community where I'd love to hear your story and your fears. I've even got a free worksheet you can use to help define your fears and help you share your story with others. Remember, you may write alone, but you are not alone.

[00:12:38] Thank you for listening to this episode. Check out the show notes for links to my blog and our community where you can get involved in the discussion and support others. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to get to free and powerful tools to help you: 1) access to my growing library of free resources for authors and 2) you'll also get access to my exclusive writing challenge "How to Write Faster in 14 days", where I share all my tips and techniques that helped me finish over 20 works in five years. Check out the show notes for all the links and thanks again for being part of this community.

M. Khan

M. Khan has authored over 20 novels/novellas/short stories under a pen name, and is now working on a fantasy series under her own name. She teaches others how to plan holistically to get all the things done, and provides guidance and coaching to fellow authors.
Overcome a Fear of Writing
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