Writing Tips

5 ways to beat the fear of hitting “send”

I’ve been blogging away about how to make more of an impact with our writing - when it struck me that there are times when we don’t want to make an impact. When we’re fearful of the impact that we’ll make.  When writing to make an impact is the last thing we want to do.

This isn’t writer’s block as such because it’s a fear that strikes when the words are already written, are all ready to send.  It’s the fear of publishing.  In the digital world it’s the fear of hitting “send”.

This week’s podcast (4 mins 49 secs) looks at what happens when those fears and anxieties strike - and ways that we can shift our focus to get unstuck again.

5 ways to beat the fear of hitting “send”

Shift your focus away from your words, away from your fears, away from all the worst things you can imagine happening.  Focus instead on:

  • Your positive intention: the positive reasons why you’re writing, the difference you’re trying to make
  • The value you’re adding: take a look at the resources you’re sharing, the arguments you’re making, the benefits you’re offering. (And if they’re not clear - go back and edit till they are.  It’s better for your reader - and more motivating for you.)
  • The reasons why: stop for a moment and think about why you’re writing. To deliver on a commitment, to move some business along, to express an idea?  Think about what would happen if you ducked out and decided not to send.
  • Just one reader: you’ll drive yourself crazy imagining the reactions of all possible readers.  Focus on just one - what they need to hear, how they’ll benefit from what you’ve got to say
  • What happens next: focus on the benefits of hitting “send” - the conversations you can open up, the business you can move forward (not to mention the sense of relief you’ll feel once you’ve got this bit of writing out of the way!)

This fear of hitting “send” has happened to me on more times that I care to mention - sending off e-mails at work, publishing a blog post for the first time, issuing new pr materials, signing off the final drafts of my book…

These shifts in focus were the things that helped me through - that and running away from my desk after I hit the “send” button! It often seems easier to come back to after you’ve been away from your desk for a while :-)

Does this ever happen to you?  And if so, how do you get past it?


You can listen to the podcast by following this link or going to my gcast page.

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

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Joanna Paterson

Journal and writing coach, teaching ways to notice and capture the wonder of the everyday, through writing, poetry, and photography.

Poetry and Photography - Twitter - Facebook

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14 Responses to “5 ways to beat the fear of hitting “send””

  1. On January 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm CatherineL responded with... #

    Great tips. This has happened to me a lot. Often, I suppose I worry that I will offend a particular reader. Maybe they are making a crucial mistake in their business, and they will see the post as a criticism, rather than appreciating the advice given.

    But, I think you are right - you can’t just worry about writing to please one or two people, or you’d never write a thing.

  2. On January 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm Robert Hruzek responded with... #

    Hey, pretty interesting subject, Joanna; not everyone thinks about this end of writing.

    First of all (and you know me well enough to know I would say this) I don’t hit “send” when I publish - I hit “Publish”! Is that some strange Scottish version of WordPress you’re using? :-D

    Anyhoo -

    The technique I try to use (assuming I have the luxury of time) to know my post is finished is when I’ve set it aside overnight, re-read it in the morning, and think to myself, “Bingo!” (or something like that).

    It’s an almost subliminal feeling, that I captured what I wanted to say as best I could. You probably know what I mean, right? You just… know, because it “clicks”.

    ‘Course, using email is another animal. Usually you don’t have the luxury of time to read and re-read what you wrote. But if you don’t MAKE the time - well, you may regret it!

    Believe me, I learned that one the hard way!

  3. On January 16, 2008 at 6:48 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Catherine, I’m glad you found it useful :-)

    I think there are probably two processes going on - one that does require us to check and edit, and that’s the point to ask ourselves if someone could take this the wrong way, misinterpret what we said, or if we could do more to focus on the positives

    But there’s another point when we “know” we’ve done enough - at least until we publish the thing and see what happens - and that’s the point we have to find a way to let go and be done with it…

    Joanna

  4. On January 16, 2008 at 6:53 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Robert, you know I struggled with this headline.

    I do use “publish” on posts and no, I do not have a Scottish version of blogging software :-)

    (Might be fun to work out what words it would use come to think of it… maybe one for another day)

    But I was trying to find a catch all that included e-mails too - and it’s often by e-mail that we send off reports, newsletters, pr campaigns, news, information, ideas - and I wasn’t sure non-bloggers and non-published-authors would identify with the word “publish”

    Maybe it wasn’t perfect but I had to get it sent out anyway!

    E-mail is also a balancing act - if we send too quickly we can rue the consequences and I’m sure all of us have… but as I said to Catherine in the comment above there is a point (at least for me) when I know that I’m holding back for no good reason. And sometimes I find I have to hit ‘send’ (or equivalent!) without waiting for that ‘bingo’ feeling…

    Thanks for stopping by, I take this as a sign that you’re starting to recover from the blogapalooza!

    Joanna

  5. On January 17, 2008 at 12:43 am Melissa Donovan responded with... #

    Another way to gain some comfort, when hitting send makes panic arise, is to proofread — three times minimum. I find that to be extremely helpful in calming my nerves.

  6. On January 17, 2008 at 9:53 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Melissa, that’s a great tip, thank you.

    Part of me wishes I could get past these feelings, but they are a signal of something I know, that we’re stretching out of our comfort zones - which is normally a good thing. Oh and it’s a reminder that we’re human too :-)

    Joanna

  7. On January 17, 2008 at 1:46 pm Robert Hruzek responded with... #

    This is appropos of nothing, really… but wouldn’t it be great if we could get our WP platforms to be truly individually customized? I could add buttons for “ironic”, “je ne se quois” and “a tip o’ the hat to ya”! You could add one for “insert haggis here”. :-\

  8. On January 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Robert,that sounds like a fun idea for a blog post some day!

    Joanna

  9. On January 18, 2008 at 5:33 am Michele L. Tune - Writing the Cyber Highway responded with... #

    I agree with the others. These are great tips! Melissa’s right: proofread a few times and just “go for it.”

    I can’t picture you running away from the computer. :-)

    Thanks for a great post!

    Smiles,
    Michele

  10. On January 18, 2008 at 7:30 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Michele, you’re right, we get to a point when all we can do is proofread, test against our positive intention, and then ‘go for it’.

    But when that’s at a time when I’m making a big stretch, it’s true I do run away for a while! Just because I’m aiming for confident writing doesn’t mean I feel it all the time myself :-)

    Joanna

  11. On February 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm David McGarva responded with... #

    I love hitting “Post.” It’s so much easier than facing the fear of putting a manuscript in the mailbox. It’s so much safer than sending a letter of complaint that you haven’t taken a day to think over.

    I love it because I can go back and edit and rewrite just as much as I want. Just about every time, as soon as I hit Post that’s the moment I know how my work could be better. There’s something about seeing it in “print” that helps me to rewrite. And I get to do that! Blogging is publication without crystallization.

    Nice to meet another British coach, by the way (I’m in California, and everyone here seems to think I have some sort of accent).

  12. On February 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi David, nice to meet you too :-)

    I agree that blogging is a good way to warm up our writing muscles and improve our writing confidence, but I’m not sure I’d agree with editing after you post - surely better to do it before hand? Especially as things can get picked up very quickly through feed readers and eagle eyed readers…

    What do you think?

    Although I’m wondering if your meaning is more that you can pick up the idea and develop it within another post?

    Which I definitely do, all the time, as a work-in-progress

    Joanna

  13. On February 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm David McGarva responded with... #

    No, you were right the first time. I do my best rewriting when it’s too late. But on my own website, it’s never too late. Isn’t that great?

    Except that you’re right about feed readers, etc. There are pages of mine from 8 years ago on waybackmachine.org (and I will never tell you how to find them!).

    Joanna, thanks for emailing me - that was important information.

  14. On February 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hmm David, I’m not sure I’m going to share your editing-after-you-post practice as a writing tip with others!

    No problem about the e-mail, I was keen to pick up your feed anyway :-)

    Joanna

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