#3: The Fear of the Unknown
It’s kind of natural to fear the unknown. For many of us, this fear can start at an early age and remain with us for most of our lives.
When it comes to writing your book – or specifically not-writing your book – it can be somewhat debilitating.
The signs that this is happening in your life are:
- You are a bit of a control freak and won’t start writing until you know exactly each step of the way – including how you are going to get published
- You spend more time planning than doing
- When you start writing, doubts about your ability start to sneak in which you use as excuses to stop writing
This diagram shows that there are actually classes of unknown-ness – made famous by Donald Rumsfeld of course.
There’s obviously the stuff we know we know – the Known Knowns – at least that is until we find out whatever we thought we knew, we didn’t know that well after all. There’s stuff we know we don’t know – the Known Unknowns – perhaps like who is going to publish our bestseller. There’s a weird category of Unknown Knowns – these are things we know but didn’t know we knew – like we are actually quite a good writer and people like reading our stuff. We just not be quite aware of it yet.
Finally there are the Unknown Unknowns – these are the bête noires to writers – these are the demons that can stop us in our tracks.
Strategies for Getting to Know the Unknowns
- Just accept we don’t have to know everything and getting to know things, make mistakes is part of the rich tapestry of life.
- Be confident that you at least know the subject you are writing about and you are bringing a unique perspective to it.
- Know that all you need to know is to know how to find out someone who does know.
- Learn how to use Boolean searches on Google, Twitter and Wikipedia – and if you don’t know what a Boolean search is or why they are useful just look it up on Google – take this as a tip from a person who uses them all the time.
- Make sure you learn something new every day no matter how small – for example, I subscribe to the Words for the Day from Dictionary.com and Visual Thesaurus so each day I improve my vocabulary.
Incidentally, I find out daily that words that I thought I knew the meaning of – I really didn’t.
The Known Knowns weren’t quite what I thought they were !!!
Next Week: The Fear of Success