The ultimate writers’ and weird phobia list

I have fears. Fear of dying alone. Fear of drowning. Fear of freezing to death. And fear of big, hairy spiders. I don’t even like to look at pictures of big hairy spiders (hence the picture of the web instead of a big hairy spider).

I saw a tarantula while on a bike ride in New Mexico. I was tooling along, care-free, and there was this huge, black, hairy spider just chillin’ in the bike lane. I veered into traffic.

Writers have a lot of fears – fear of rejection, fear of acceptance, fear of ridicule, fear of bad reviews. We all know fear of anything can be debilitating.

Atelophobia – Fear of imperfection. It’s never perfect. I’ve read books by the greats, published by the Big Guys in NYC, and I still find mistakes. Write a
good story, edit and proofread, and send it off.

Coulrophobia – Fear of clowns. I never liked clowns. Once I read “It” by Stephen King this phobia became worse. Now I don’t even like to take my grandkids to the circus.

Cyberphobia – Fear of computers. Oh man, if you are writing in the 21st century, you really need to get over this one.

Arachnophobia – Fear of spiders. Again, I do not like big, hairy spiders.

Papyrophobia – Fear of paper. If you are an e-book publishing person, you might eventually print to paper. So get over this.

Venustraphobia – Fear of beautiful women. I had to add this one. If you are a venustraphobe, then you should get off this blog, and you should stop following my gal pals – because they are all beautiful. And there are millions of beautiful women in writing and publishing.

Necrophobia – Fear of death or dead things. When you finally publish your book on some e-pubbing site and it just lays there, dead – no comments, no reviews, nada. This is frightening.

Genuphobia – Fear of knees. Seriously? There is a word for this?

Catagelophobia – Fear of being ridiculed. No matter how well you write, how well you edit, how well you present your novel, some num-nuts is going to ridicule you. Just write it, edit it, and put it out there.

Hypochonria – Fear of illness. This comes directly after you read your first bad review. The Ill Thing would be you.

Autophobia – Fear of being alone. Imagine thinking you nailed a kick-butt article on your blog and nobody comments. You say, “Hello?” and there is an echo. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened much lately.

“He who fears something gives it power over him.” ~Moorish Proverb

What’s your fear? About writing, life, spiders, publishing … ?

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16 responses to “The ultimate writers’ and weird phobia list

  1. We lived in Venezuela for 18 years. I don’t like spiders. I detest snakes. But I’m not phobic over either. It’s the dogs. The remote Ye’cuana tribal village we lived in for 10 years had an overabundance of dogs. Dogs for the purpose of hunting. In the Ye’cuana culture, a hungry dog is a better hunter, so these were mangy, hungry dogs. They were forever snarling at me as I walked through the village, occasionally lunging. I learned to reach for a stone and pretend to through it—even-if there were no stones. It was not uncommon for me to carry a stick—just in case. They struck fear in me in the early days and they sensed it. There was no making the fear invisible to them.

    But that’s dogs that I don’t know, dogs that snarl at me. In reality I really do LOVE dogs. I have the cutest, most cuddliest and tiniest Jack Russell Terrier that’s snuggled up on my feet right now. If I let her, she would push my netbook aside and claim my lap! No phobia there.

    The dogs at almost every house in our neighborhood? My goal is always to make friends with them! That’s worked with all but two, so I’m only phobic over two of them. 🙂

    Maybe watching the movie Arachnophobia could help you get over your fear of spiders? Not! We had spiders that looked just like that in our house in Venezuela!

  2. Fear of heights. Pretty common, right? But I fight them. I climbed the St. Augustine lighthouse (219 steps), I went parasailing. I just don’t let the fears rule me. (still scary, though). My wife is afraid of clowns, too!

  3. Oh, I’m terrified of knees. Ha ha, just kidding. Good find, btw!

    I’m scared of not being able to get out or off of places. It’s not quite claustrophobia because the space could be as big as a cruise ship. Or a tunnel or a plane. If I know I can’t just walk to safety (run) should the need arise, I am…itchy to all out anxious. I forced myself to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel in some traffic today (ie, stopped for a while in the tube) because it really was the more direct route and I had to be somewhere on time. But on the way back when there was no time pressure and the traffic was backed up for a mile, I drove waaay out of the way to the bridge.

    Yes, I realize that getting off the bridge would be difficult, too. I don’t know why this feels different.

    Name that phobia!

  4. Where does one start? Fear of succes, that’s a big one. Fear of making an ass of myself. Ophidiophobia (snaks)–used to be worse than I am now–I don’t want to come face to face with them, but I find them beautiful from afar–is ther a word for that? The rest..well, don’t want to share too much. :-}

  5. Great post, as usual, Karen 🙂
    My biggest fear…..making no difference, leaving no mark. That scares me silly.

  6. this is a great post and you take quite the light handed view on phobias. i suppose that makes it easier to talk about them. many fears follow me through my life. in writing it is the fear of sharing my writing. when i write a poem and feel it expresses what i intend for it to reveal – the thought of someone reviewing my work brings out fear. i’m not afraid of the rejection but i am afraid of how it will make me feel about what i devote a great deal of my time doing. am i strong enough in myself to believe in myself over what someone else might say or think about what i write?

    fear of spiders is one of my no. 1 fears and the other i don’t like saying out loud or even writing about. this comes out of superstition that it could cause it to happen. so i will keep that fear to myself. i must say that i let out the most unusual sounds when i see a spider. they freak me out. i saw a tarantula in a pet store once while i was with someone close to me and her children. i made the innocent mistake of putting my face close down to the plastic box it was contained in. it wasn’t moving so i thought there might be something wrong with it. well while my face was inches from this creature. my close someone flicked the box hard and the tarantula leaped at my face. i am almost embarrassed to say that i went running and screaming from the pet store followed by her children laughing. when i calmed down i was able to laugh but my whole body was shaking.. studying fear is an art and so is writing and the two somehow seem like friends with each other. thank you for such thoughtful posts. this one especially clicked with me. jen
    ps. i think i have experienced every fear that you have mentioned. are they still with me. yes when i least expect them to creep up on me.

  7. We all have phobias. I think the idea – with writing phobias especially – is to press through. Write the best book or short story you can and send it off. Like a child going to their first day of school…eventually you have to let go of his little hand. I’m not fond of crowded places either, though I had no trouble with that during my early years and concert-going. Venezuela – isn’t that where “Arachnophobia” started? I think any time we publish something – like on a blog – we have made a mark.

  8. the writ and the wrote

    That I will never find true love. It actually keeps me awake at night. It’s part of why I write. I write the stories I want to live in my own life.

  9. “Writ” – I hope you do. Personally, married and divorced three times, and at 54, I’ve given up. I just vow to be an awesome grandmother (they call me MoMo), a good friend, a good writer.

  10. Cyd Madsen

    Phobias, ah, yes. My life is one big long list of phobias, all of which I overcame by put gut and will. Or maybe I’ve just replaced them with new ones I can’t yet identify 🙂

    I love this list, but fear it. Will I now have a fear of knees? They are rather odd looking things that could pop off at any moment and attack. Uh-oh, I feel a new fear coming on.

    One phobia I have that I’ve never been able to kick because it’s just not worth the effort is the one of black lingerie. Seriously. I once tried to get over it by buying black panties, and ended up waking in the middle of the night to wrap them in plastic and hide them behind the washing machine. The next morning I asked my husband to take them to work and dispose of them so they wouldn’t contaminate our garbage. I wear black outer clothing all the time and love it, but the darkness under them? No way! As another poster requested: Name that phobia! (In three bars or less…probably bars that sell the booze to ease our irrational worries.)

  11. Amity

    Fear of releasing a final version that still still contains a glaring grammatical error.

  12. Stacy S. Jensen

    Suffocation or drowning and the next big bag coming from my son’s room. Sigh.

  13. Pingback: How (not) to Advertise a Book « AndrewJKnight

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