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Does the thought of nobody reading your work makes you anxious? (1 Viewer)

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Anamable

Senior Member
So it hasn't been very long that I begun writing, but I've always loved it. I'll keep doing it even if many people aren't interested to reading what I wrote, but like every writer I wish to create are that would move people. So, how do you cope with this anxiety that what you write won't be good enough?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
It's a catch 22 really. Whilst I'm not that bothered other people don't read my work at the moment, the aim is people will want to when my journey is complete. The main problem as I see it, is writing for a particular audience, and nothing limits your potential scope more than that. If you aim to please an audience that is more or less the same, day in and day out, you'll not develop skills that appeal to the millions out there who may not share the same views as the few on one forum.

When you ask 'do you get anxious thinking about other people not reading your stuff', the answer is no because I'm limiting my audience to a single forum. I'm after help here, not praise or reassurance or even readership. My anxiety may kick in when I go seeking the audience I'm after beyond the forum but I can't honestly say that will happen for certain.
 

Anamable

Senior Member
True, but
It's a catch 22 really. Whilst I'm not that bothered other people don't read my work at the moment, the aim is people will want to when my journey is complete. The main problem as I see it, is writing for a particular audience, and nothing limits your potential scope more than that. If you aim to please an audience that is more or less the same, day in and day out, you'll not develop skills that appeal to the millions out there who may not share the same views as the few on one forum.

When you ask 'do you get anxious thinking about other people not reading your stuff', the answer is no because I'm limiting my audience to a single forum. I'm after help here, not praise or reassurance or even readership. My anxiety may kick in when I go seeking the audience I'm after beyond the forum but I can't honestly say that will happen for certain.
sometimes the voice in your head does say many mean things..
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Depends on the intended audience really. I write most of my work with the intended audience of my daughter, either to be read to her or read by her, either at present or in the future. Everyone else is just a beta reader so I can make sure she gets the best version.
This is an approach I've considered a lot over the years. It's something a hell of a lot of published writers advocate. The trouble is, I have yet to find that 'someone' to write for.
 
I think writing for one person is a really good idea, because it externalizes your writing without you having to 'make up' the tastes of some nebulous, intangible 'society' or 'body of readers.' But it doesn't necessarily have to be a real one person--it could be an imaginary 'ideal reader,' and that reader may be different for each work. I write with the hope that at least one person will like or be impacted by what I write. Any more than that is just icing.

ETA: to the OP, how do I deal with the anxiety? Well, with anything important that I do, there's a voice in my head saying my effort isn't 'good enough.' And although I try my very best in everything, as a Christian, my answer to that is, 'so what if it isn't?' "God has used the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." This has played out in my life multiple times -- I've written something I thought was meh, and it's really impacted someone positively. I have to remember that if I'm speaking the truth as best I can, if I'm representing beauty as best I can, God will honor it even if it's not 'good enough' by my own high standards.
 
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Foxee

Patron
Patron
Encouragement from "Do the Work" by Steven Pressfield:

"The enemy is our chattering brain,
which, if we give it so much as a
nanosecond, will start producing
excuses, alibis, transparent self-
justifications, and a million reasons
why we can't/shouldn't/won't do
what we know we need to do.

Start before you're ready."
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I put my books on Amazon - so good and bad reviews are just part of the game. Yes I was anxious about my first novels, but now I try not to worry about it as much. This morning I was reading about an author that got a one star review because... wait for it... the book wasn't a sausage. Apparently the customer ordered a sausage, and Amazon shipped them a book instead. In that light, I try to take reader remarks in stride.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
I'm more afraid of having a popular book. With success comes book store readings and talks, and having to sign books and be friendly and sociable. That frickin' terrifies me!

I'm going to have to be a reclusive author like J.D. Salinger. I'm already reclusive; now I just need a best selling book. :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Really great question!

I once had a great role writing articles about companies and executives for a financial magazine. After fact-checking the heck out of my piece I would submit it to the editor, and literally, break out into a sweat. I was afraid that I had misstepped and the magazine would be sued or I had said something wrong and be called out by my colleagues. I gave it up because of the fear. But I'm sure you already guessed that I am going to tell you how much I regret that. Obviously, I didn't cope well. What makes this story even harder is that many years after I quit, the editor told me that people were still talking about one of my articles. (In a good way...lol) Do you know how much I wish I could go back and push through the fear?

When you put yourself out there it's normal to be anxious. I hope I cope better when I start to publish fiction. But we'll see...

My first protagonist is a financial journalist. I'm living out my dream one way or another.
 
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Sir-KP

Senior Member
Rather the opposite, I'm anxious when someone reads my work even though I hoped them to read it. That is for anything I create other than the works I do for my actual job. I don't have cold sweat and shivers or giving self-defeat like, "yeah, my works sucks...". Instead, my mind would flash all those mean words repeatedly like a battering ram.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
This is an approach I've considered a lot over the years. It's something a hell of a lot of published writers advocate. The trouble is, I have yet to find that 'someone' to write for.
I write for myself, knowing that I have friends who share my taste in reading material. Things I like to read tend to be popular, so a sort of congruency in logic suggests that if I like what I write, my material should belong in that pool. I'm rereading my first novel right now, finished several years ago, and enjoying it ... I'll have to say enjoying it more right now than my first read after I finished it ... for I'm no longer paranoid about certain elements of it ... wondering IF they measure up.
 

Anamable

Senior Member
What
I think writing for one person is a really good idea, because it externalizes your writing without you having to 'make up' the tastes of some nebulous, intangible 'society' or 'body of readers.' But it doesn't necessarily have to be a real one person--it could be an imaginary 'ideal reader,' and that reader may be different for each work. I write with the hope that at least one person will like or be impacted by what I write. Any more than that is just icing.

ETA: to the OP, how do I deal with the anxiety? Well, with anything important that I do, there's a voice in my head saying my effort isn't 'good enough.' And although I try my very best in everything, as a Christian, my answer to that is, 'so what if it isn't?' "God has used the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." This has played out in my life multiple times -- I've written something I thought was meh, and it's really impacted someone positively. I have to remember that if I'm speaking the truth as best I can, if I'm representing beauty as best I can, God will honor it even if it's not 'good enough' by my own high standards.
a wonderful approach!
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I write for myself, knowing that I have friends who share my taste in reading material. Things I like to read tend to be popular, so a sort of congruency in logic suggests that if I like what I write, my material should belong in that pool. I'm rereading my first novel right now, finished several years ago, and enjoying it ... I'll have to say enjoying it more right now than my first read after I finished it ... for I'm no longer paranoid about certain elements of it ... wondering IF they measure up.

I write the books that I'd want to read and when I make those books available, lots of people seem to have the same tastes. When I read novels I've written, they're no different than any other book I read. I enjoy them just as much as anything written by any other published author. That's really all that matters in the end.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
The thought of doing all this work for nothing doesn't make me anxious, but it is quite bothersome.

I've followed other pursuits without experiencing any reward in the way of approval and certainly no monetary reward. The only return on my investments have been that I got some enjoyment from learning, and now these activities are my hobbies, but it would be nice to be successful at one of them — just one is all I ask! I'm envious of people with extraordinary abilities — the ones who, when you look at their work, you can tell immediately that they're going to make it with at least a modicum of success. You can only get knocked down so many times before you stay down for the count and face the fact that you're not going to be successful at anything.

Part of it is that my tastes aren't what's popular in today's culture. I'm out of the zeitgeist, out of the mainstream, and too old for subcultures, none of which align with my tastes anyway.

Or it could be that I'm just making excuses to not write.

My wife and I are leaving on Wednesday to spend a week in a small town in southern Colorado near the New Mexico border. We rented a house on a river where there won't be much else to do but hang out, write, and play my guitar. Maybe I'll make some progress there. I almost wish the house didn't have Internet access, which is often more of a distraction than an asset, except when doing research.
 

Anamable

Senior Member
True
I think writing for one person is a really good idea, because it externalizes your writing without you having to 'make up' the tastes of some nebulous, intangible 'society' or 'body of readers.' But it doesn't necessarily have to be a real one person--it could be an imaginary 'ideal reader,' and that reader may be different for each work. I write with the hope that at least one person will like or be impacted by what I write. Any more than that is just icing.

ETA: to the OP, how do I deal with the anxiety? Well, with anything important that I do, there's a voice in my head saying my effort isn't 'good enough.' And although I try my very best in everything, as a Christian, my answer to that is, 'so what if it isn't?' "God has used the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." This has played out in my life multiple times -- I've written something I thought was meh, and it's really impacted someone positively. I have to remember that if I'm speaking the truth as best I can, if I'm representing beauty as best I can, God will honor it even if it's not 'good enough' by my own high standards.
!
 

Anamable

Senior Member
I write the books that I'd want to read and when I make those books available, lots of people seem to have the same tastes. When I read novels I've written, they're no different than any other book I read. I enjoy them just as much as anything written by any other published author. That's really all that matters in the end.
Yes...ending the story is the most difficult than starting it
 

Anamable

Senior Member
The thought of doing all this work for nothing doesn't make me anxious, but it is quite bothersome.

I've followed other pursuits without experiencing any reward in the way of approval and certainly no monetary reward. The only return on my investments have been that I got some enjoyment from learning, and now these activities are my hobbies, but it would be nice to be successful at one of them — just one is all I ask! I'm envious of people with extraordinary abilities — the ones who, when you look at their work, you can tell immediately that they're going to make it with at least a modicum of success. You can only get knocked down so many times before you stay down for the count and face the fact that you're not going to be successful at anything.

Part of it is that my tastes aren't what's popular in today's culture. I'm out of the zeitgeist, out of the mainstream, and too old for subcultures, none of which align with my tastes anyway.

Or it could be that I'm just making excuses to not write.

My wife and I are leaving on Wednesday to spend a week in a small town in southern Colorado near the New Mexico border. We rented a house on a river where there won't be much else to do but hang out, write, and play my guitar. Maybe I'll make some progress there. I almost wish the house didn't have Internet access, which is often more of a distraction than an asset, except when doing research.
Hmm, I do get your point here but I think every writer feels the same at some point or the other in the creative process. And people who write excellent don't necessarily start that way, but most of them write for joy or their love of craft more than anything else.
 
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