Reality Blog: 4 Fears Haunt All Copywriters… Unmask and Defeat Them!


October is over, November is here, and ghosts of the trick-or-treat season still hang around…

Jack-o-lanterns starting to look a little worse for wear…

Cobwebs… real ones and a few of the store-bought kind…

Enough candy to last at least through the next zombie apocalypse…

In the next few weeks those lingering signs will be replaced with plastic reindeer, sparkling lights, and the smells of Mom’s home cooking. Before we leave the spooks and shivers behind, however, I wanted to take a moment to examine the fears that are core to our experience as copywriters.

Core Copywriting Fears

People are afraid of many different things for many different reasons. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the fears that stop us from taking meaningful action. Over the course of Bootcamp I saw a lot of copywriters, new and experienced, bravely share their fears with others.

Many different situations, reasons, experiences, and manifestations of fears.

Are there really all these different fears, though? Does each and every copywriter face a special fear? Or are these many different fears personal manifestations of core fears that trouble all people, and perhaps especially copywriters?

Fear of Others

You might not give much thought to whether you’re afraid of others. As someone who likes to meet people, I don’t often think of myself as someone who fears others. But at Bootcamp I got a chance, once again, to see people who seem different from me.

  • Speakers
  • Superstars
  • Marketers

Am I afraid of them? Yes. Honestly — painfully — yes. I’m in awe, I’m a little intimidated, and it’s hard, sometimes physically hard, to push that Send button on the email or LinkedIn connection request to these giants.

Unmask the Fear

We’re all alone inside our own heads. We can be in a crowd and feel utterly isolated. No matter who you are, where you are, or what your story is, we view every other person from a distance.

Unchecked, that distance can create uncertainty, discomfort, suspicion, fear, and even paranoia.

However, I’m going to go out on a psychological limb that I’m not technically qualified to be on and say that it’s not actually the other person we fear. It’s what they represent. Something that’s bigger than me, more powerful than me… some great force that can touch me, but can’t be touched in return.

When I first started submitting pitches to AWAI publications, I was afraid of them!

And no, I wasn’t afraid of Heather Robson or Rebecca Matter, or any of the human beings who make decisions. I was afraid of the great monster my own brain had conjured up from the name, the reputation, the paycheck, the seemingly impersonal machine.

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Suzanna Fitzgerald

Suzanna Fitzgerald


  • Hi Suzanna!

    Loved this post!

    My #1 fear is #4 in your post, fear of success. But for somewhat different reasons than you stated. Fear of success in my weird brain goes something like this: Say, I write an email sales series. It’s so stupendous, so brilliant, it out-performs anything my client has ever done. The conversion rate quadruples. Sales skyrocket. Royalties pour in like rain over Seattle. My client worships me. Other business owners beg her for my contact info.

    But instead of being thrilled by my success, I’m terrified. What if this was a one-off, a fluke? What if I could never do it again? What if I ended going down in the annals of copywriting history as just a one-hit wonder, scorned and ridiculed by copywriters everywhere?

    Pretty silly, huh? But that’s the way my weird and mysterious brain works. 🙂


    • WOW Paulette, that’s amazing. I’d never thought of a fear of success in those terms – but you’re absolutely right, there’s that fear mixed into the rest of the reasons! Not silly at all…enlightening.
      Thank you for sharing – and my best wishes to you and your weird, mysterious, especially wonderful brain as you go out and succeed!

    • I’ve written and self-published three novels. I like them all, but I’m very happy with the third one. That fact is making the fourth one very difficult to write because of exactly what you’re saying here, Paulette. You get me 🙂

  • Hi Suzanna,
    This is a great post. The first three fears actually describe me. I fear that most writers out there are superior to me.
    This automatically leads to fear of self. In my mind, I’m a nobody. Like you said ” despicable worm ” .
    Not surprising then that I fear failure. How can a nobody succeed in a world full of great people? This is the kind of world I live in.
    As a total beginner, your post has given me a new way of seeing myself. I will read it many times.

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