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Fear and Failure: A Guide to Giving No F*cks

In our Fear & Failure series, we’re going to bombard you with a whole shit-tonne of blogs on the terror of failure and rejection, and how to pull your little cotton socks back up and carry the fuck on.

So take a seat. We’ve got important matters to discuss. First, we want to talk to you about fear.

Here are some things that are scary:

  • Failing
  • Succeeding
  • Actually sitting down and writing
  • Seeing your words written down and realising that they’ve become confused in between your head, your fingers and the page, and being unsure how to fix it – or even if it can be fixed
  • How brilliant you could be if you just let yourself

Here’s something that’s scarier:

  • Living your entire life in the shadow of what you could have done
Extreme zoom in on a woman looking shocked.

Yes quite. Stop freaking out at the back there. Look, we’re overworked, underpaid, exhausted, and right now every day feels like the end of days. We have no fucks to give any more, pulling punches isn’t getting anyone any where, and it’s time you all got on the No Fucks Train too.

It’s time to stop quietly worrying about what *might* go wrong. Time to stop the ‘yeah but’ game, and time to stop all the what-ifs.

It’s time… to be awesome.

When we tell you to stop fart-arsing about and start writing, we’re not just talking about getting your bum on the seat and typing. We mean you also have to get yourself out the way and let the you-on-the-inside do the work because that’s the work that really counts and that’s the work the world needs now more than ever.

Image of a calm sea and a sunset sky with a quote from The Thick of It: "Christ on a bendy bus don't be such a fucking faff arse" - Malcolm Tucker

Here’s a little secret a very wise mountain woman once told me: it’s fine to be scared – fear is an excellent and vital evolutionary trait – but it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make your success or failure or writing any different. It just stops you from even trying. Well, excuse our wise mountain language but: fuck. that. shit.

That’s not to say you have to be fearless. You can’t just magic your fear away. It doesn’t work like that. But you can be resilient. You can say ‘eeeek this is bringing me out in a cold sweat but I’m doing it anyway’ or you can say ‘gnuerrgh some people might not like this but it’s important and I can fend off their dislike with my Shield Of Yass Kween’ and take a deep breath and find that little ball of badassery deep down in your gut and pour your heart into it and then ride the adrenalin high all the way home.

This month at WHQ we’re going to smash fear in the face and turn our failures into Positive Learning Experiences ™. Obviously we want you to join us because that’s kinda the whole thing wot we got going on here, so we’ve written a shedload of pep-talking, creativity-inspiring blogs on the subject (see a full list at the end of this page) but right now here’s what you can do to show failure that you don’t give a tosh for its fearmongering ways: duct tape your inner critic to a chair, open up your WIP, and write. It could be for 20 minutes, it could only be 100 words, it could be absolute twaddle. DO IT ANYWAY. Then put your work aside and get on with your life, safe in the knowledge that you did something today. (Rinse and repeat daily until you’ve got yourself over that initial ‘arrrghh’ of facing the blank page.)

Huh. easy as that. Whodathunnk?

Ready to destroy your fear of failure? Aces. Leap dramatically on your chair right now and shout I’M ON THE NO FUCKS TRAIN! And then get down really carefully because we don’t want you to hurt yourself.

Image of a bright orange frog riding a large black beetle. Caption says: Onward, brave writers!

Fear & Failure: The Ultimate Pep-talk Blog Series

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

Sarah is one half of Writers' HQ. She writes a lot of short bios about herself.

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Gift a free Writers' HQ membership!

Fill in the form and we’ll drop your friend an email letting them know how they can sign up for their free year, as gifted by you.

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

*In case you missed the promotion, you’re not paying for this. We’re doing a whole Buy One Gift One Free hooha throughout September.