The Most Common Fears About Publishing, and 3 Ways to Conquer Them

06/09/2015 06:31 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2016

My name is Jamilah Corbitt, and I have publishing anxiety.

Publishing anxiety is the feeling of fear that occurs before you hit the publish button on that piece of content you've poured yourself into. It's the sudden stress that overtakes you and makes you question your writing: Does this suck? Did I clearly articulate my thoughts? Are there any grammatical errors? Will anyone read this?

You've spent hours creating the perfect blog post and now you're nervous about revealing it to the world. If you've ever published anything, I'm sure these feelings are all too familiar to you. The great news is, you're not alone.

The first step to dealing with this problem is admitting you have one.

I've written many blog posts that have been shelved in a folder on my computer marked "Tomb of the Forgotten." Sometimes I felt the pieces I wrote weren't good enough to see the light of day. Other times, I felt vulnerable. I revisit the tomb folder periodically and stumble across forgotten gems that I decide to resurrect.

This post is actually one of those gems. How fitting!


Common fears of publishing

1. Judgement

Have you ever wrote an English paper and thought it was the best thing you had ever written, and you knew it was a surefire A -- then when you got the paper back, it had more edits and comments than the actual content on the paper?

I hated that red pen. Each mark was a blow to my self-esteem.

No one likes to be judged. Unfortunately, we've been crippled as a society because we've been judged our whole lives starting at an early age. The fear of judgement is the most common cause of publishing anxiety. Who wants to be told their writing is subpar? Especially when they've poured their heart into it.

While it's true we're our own worst critic, it doesn't always feel that way. We're convinced our peers judge us more severely. What we must remember is that the judgement we fear is usually much more exaggerated than anything we will ever experience once we release our writing to the world.

2. Insecurity

If we're writing a blog post about our subject matter, we're afraid of looking incompetent to our peers. Doubts creep across our minds and we start to wonder if we even know about our topic.

We know our subject matters well, and we must stand confidently in our knowledge. We shouldn't allow our fears to dictate our actions.

Tips for overcoming publishing anxiety

1. Acknowledge previous successes

One of the main ways I overcome publishing anxiety is by acknowledging previous successes. I revisit the positive comments and emails I had received and realize it's all worth it.

Look at your previous posts and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Then, dig deeper. Think about the people who can benefit from your writing. Sure, there will always be critics, and you'll encounter criticism in every aspect of life -- but someone needs to hear what you have to say. Someone out there is waiting to connect with your story.

2. Forget about perfection

No one is perfect. Perfection doesn't exist. You shouldn't allow your fear of flaws to hinder your actions. Sometimes you'll spot a mistake after your hit publish. You'll think the world will judge you for it, when in actuality most of the time you're the only person that spots the error.

I've always been anxious before a post, but clicking that publish button is a release, even if I did forget an Oxford comma.

3. Have another set of eyes review your work

Ask someone to look over your piece. I always get a friend or a fellow colleague to review my writing before submission. When you're working on something for a long time, it's hard to catch your own mistakes. Our eyes somehow become immune to common grammatical errors, like the misuse of "their, they're, there" or "to, too, two."

Little mistakes like that slip by if we've been working on a piece for quite a bit of time. I also run all my work through Grammarly -- a free tool which helps you catch common grammatical errors.

Whenever you feel the fear creeping up on you, remember this quote by Will Smith's character in the movie After Earth:

Fear is not real. The only place fear can exist is within our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not exist at present and may never exist. That is near insanity.


This post was originally published on The Briefcase Blog. Head over for more tips on being authentic and awesome in your business.