How Writers can Overcome the Fear of Criticism

by | July 21, 2021

Why is it scary to write and publish content? 

I have been writing for the last five years, on and off, and until today, I still struggle with a fear of writing and publishing content. 

I understand that many people outside here have the challenge of even producing one content piece in a month. 

They prefer to keep ideas with themselves because they are so afraid of being criticized.

So in this article, we’re going to go down deep to the source of this fear. 

First, take out a paper and write down exactly what you fear. With writing, I guess it can be something like 

  • I’m afraid my content is not perfect. 
  • People will think that I don’t know anything. 
  • They’ll know I don’t have original ideas, or I’m not creative. 

Among other stupid things you can conjure up in your mind

Then ask yourself, when was the last time you read a piece of content online (preferably on a non-controversial topic since controversy begets bias) and spent a minute criticizing what the writer knows or doesn’t know about the topic. 

I can’t recall a single moment. The worst I thought was something like this.

“I don’t feel like the writer covered the topic well, so let me read another piece.”

That’s what most people do.

So why would you be constantly worried about whether your readers criticize your content as much as you think? 

It’s human nature to have self-deprecating habits. In a society that teaches us to be dissatisfied with ourselves and desire what others have, we have become our own worst enemies.

We criticize ourselves more than other people criticize us.

And I think it’s the underlying factor impeding people from producing content as often as they need to. 

To be successful in content writing or content marketing, you must produce content consistently. And allowing this fear to get in your way will limit you from reaching your goals. 

These self-doubting thoughts you have are mental constructs based on your insecurities. 

It starts by thinking you can predict or read the minds of other people. 

You put yourself in the center stage and assume everyone is busy looking at you and pointing out your flaws. Guess what? They are doing the same. They are too busy thinking about their flaws and what they can do to be better in people’s minds. 

The assumption that others are critiqued, critiquing you, is a cognitive distortion or a thinking error. 

A faulty pattern of thinking that is self-deprecating or defeating. 

Often it leads to a cycle of negative thoughts, depression, and loss of self-esteem, and eventually, negative behaviors patterns and life outcomes manifest in our lives. 

Think of it this way. 

You have low self-esteem. You believe there’s something wrong about you that you don’t want other people to find when you go out. 

So in the rare circumstances when you find yourself in a social setting, your low self-esteem manifests as anxiety and makes you sweat and behave in a non-friendly manner. 

Since you still believe there’s something wrong about you, you involuntarily become awkward, a behavior often discerned as antisocial.

People become uneasy around you, and this confirms your fears.

In the end, you proudly call yourself an introvert, not because you find joy in being alone but because you can master the courage to change your mindset, let down your guard, and just socialize

Similarly, as a writer, you often assume that you don’t know enough information about the topic. 

You also assume that you’re not creative enough to write good content and stand above the rest. 

So you procrastinate.

“I don’t feel confident, I’ll write tomorrow.”

“Today i feel a little under the weather, let’s try tomorrow.”

“Maybe i should be patient and wait for a little inspiration” Sip!

A month goes by, and you haven’t written anything.

Which means your content quantity is not enough to support your marketing campaigns. 

And you remain in the same state, wishing you were as good as Neil Patel, Jon Morrow, and other top content writers. 

And even when you finally gather some energy to write something, but it does not resonate with your audience or rake in some good traffic, you confirm your fears that you cannot write meaningful content. 

As a writer, you’ve built a system that ensures you fail and remain in your comfort zone. And as long as you stay there, nothing will ever change. Forget traveling the world whenever you like; forget cruising in a supercar when going to the grocery store. Forget the life you aspire to have beyond the 9 to 5 job. 

So how can you go past this mental cycle that is destroying your progress? 

First of all, you need to spend less time, money, and money imagining what other people think about you. 

You have no control over what people will think. So please don’t waste your energy imagining what their thoughts are. Thinking errors will result in self-deprecating habits and waste your life. 

Meanwhile, using past events to confirm your ideas makes it worse.

Maybe you read a discouraging comment from a reader or had your articles rejected by a publisher because “it is not good enough.” Who cares?

Maybe the editor was having a bad day after a fight with her boyfriend and decided to share the frustration. Who knows?

The problem with using your past experiences to affirm your present is that it prevents you from living in the moment.

So to go beyond this, you have to start practicing mindfulness, living in the moment. 

Stop imagining about the future or thinking about the past and instead be in the present moment. Focus on one activity. For instance, if you’re having a meal, savor the food. Enjoy the flavor. Suck in the aroma and let it fill you. 

It slows down the train of thoughts in your head and makes your thinking a little bit more clear. 

With a bit of practice, every day, it can transform you from living in confusion to living in the present moment and significantly improve your willpower to do tasks you deem hard, like writing. 

Secondly, you need to understand that when you write and publish content, nothing really changes. The self instigated fear is an illusion. Your body is trying to keep you away from non-existing danger. 

Will clicking publish break a bone or kill someone? 

Also, you cannot please everyone; if they don’t like your content, they can move on and read something else. 

But what if your content actually succeeds? Wouldn’t it take you to greater heights? Won’t bring you closer to the level of writer success your mentors have and you aspire to achieve?

Lastly, remember you can also revisit your content, edit it and add new ideas or change things in the future. 

We have a tendency to want to appear perfect in the eyes of other people we need. So waiting and hoping this fear goes away will do nothing for you.

Even some of the best writers in the world are often afraid of writing. But they ignore it and write anyway. 

Perfectionism is an illusion. You can never be perfect in the eyes of all readers. People are multidimensional, shaped by different experiences and factors in life. You don’t expect everyone to have a standard definition of perfect.

Which means you cannot fit into each of their perspectives without offending somebody or making a mistake. 

Perfectionism prevents you from producing content and writing as often as you can. Be comfortable with the idea of writing content for the sake of writing, especially in the early days of your content writing campaign. 

Once you overcome the fear and create a habit of writing effortlessly, then you can focus more on producing high-quality content that brings more success in blogging. 

Practice makes perfect, even though it doesn’t exist. Practice brings you close enough. Make mistakes, learn from them and improve your writing. 

Why not take action now? Take the next 30 minutes to write whatever is in your mind. Don’t try to edit since editing while writing limits productivity. Just type and type until you run out of ideas. 

This single activity of breaking that fear and writing is a rep. It’s like working out. The more reps you do, the better for your body.

If you practice writing even when you don’t feel like or are afraid of criticism every day, that paralyzing fear will be gone in no time. 

About El Gwaro

El Gwaro is a content writer and HubSpot Certified Content Marketer. He blogs about meaningful content creation that adds value to people. When he's not writing, he enjoys watching combat sports and fantasizing.

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