cartoon owl reading a book illustrating an article about fear of failureDo you spend too much time worrying about housework?  Do you feel you should be cleaning instead of writing or being creative?

You are not alone.

I think about writing but sometimes when I am writing I am worrying about other things that seem neglected, such as housework.

I know housework is not my priority but it nags at me sometimes. I realize that I was brought up to think that way, because I was surrounded by women who thought that way.


I remember my mother returning to education as a mature student. She had two part-time jobs, went to college, had two kids and still had to clean three houses – our house, her sick mother’s house and her elderly auntie’s house.

It went without questioning in those days. The phrase at the time was ‘you just get on with it.’ Although attitudes towards gender roles have changed I wonder just how much?


Has my own attitude changed enough? Not if I still find myself with niggling little guilty feelings about housework?

Of course now there is a whole industry growing up around the idea of keeping thing clean and simple and a whole heap of books and TV programs telling us how to do it.

But, I wonder if keeping things clean and simple is in itself another thing we feel we have ‘to do’ that keeps us away from our writing.

cobweb through a window - illustrating article about fear of failureI wonder is it really about finding an excuse not to write. Is it just another form of procrastination?

Writing is risking. It is easier to go through life not taking any risk. Not writing, and not putting our work ‘out there’ is one way to avoid criticism and failure.


Failure is a big word. I dread it a lot more than I dread housework. So do most people I know. So, maybe it’s failure we need to address.

Why is it so scary? Our culture tends to attach shame to the concept, yet failure is really just a by-product of learning.

In fact, failure is a crucial part of the learning process. Nobody likes it but we need to keep it in perspective.

Writers often call those unsold manuscripts they keep in the drawer failures, but really they are not. They are in fact practice.

Practicing your art is what you are meant to do. We don’t expect to be note-perfect when we learn to play the piano. We expect it to take work. Work is what makes an artist.

If you accept this you will find it much easier to just let go of the fear of failure and focus in on developing your ideas and getting those stories written.

Oh and if it’s really about housework and then my suggestion is to schedule it and do it. Learn an easy way to manage your time here.

So get it over with, don’t let your fear of failure allow cleaning, or thinking about cleaning chip away at your precious writing time.

Keep your writing time sacred and if you are stuck try some writing exercises.

Best of luck with your writing.



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