6 Types of Writer Pain You Could Be In by Beth Barany (Part 1)

I work with lots of different kinds of writers in my work as a writing teacher and coach to novelists.

What they all have in common is the desire to wow their readers, to delight them, and provide a welcome escape from their daily lives.

But still, I’ve recognized that not everyone approaches writing their novels the same way. Their problems are each different, so their solutions need to be too.

Perhaps you find yourself in this list somewhere or in parts of these 6 types. I’ll post solutions in the next post. Promise.

1. Open perfectionists

Open perfectionists have a hard time making progress in their writing because they want everything to be  just right, even if they don’t know what that is.

Or, they think everything they’ve written is awesome (and by extension, they are awesome), and are deeply wounded by any critical feedback and take it personally. They sometimes unconsciously invite personal critique and don’t know how to defend themselves against it.

2. Closet perfectionists

Closet perfectionists show up as eager to learn, but often only after a long time of yearning to write, but never starting for fear of messing up horribly. They fear being seen, and thereby getting their work out into the world, because they think they will never be good as the wonderful writers they admire.

3. Fearful of Becoming Crazy

Those who are fearful of becoming crazy (this was so me) don’t start writing seriously because they are afraid, often unconsciously, of the voices in their head. They daydream of writing, but it seems so far away. There is no way past the deep fear of going crazy, so they maybe dabble in writing that’s far away from their true desires of writing fiction. Deep down they fear that no one can help them. And deep down, they desire for someone to rescue them from their hopeless pit.

4. Fearful of Reproach

Those who are fearful of reproach, often deep down fear recrimination and oppression because they’ve already experienced that for expressing who they truly are. because of this fear, they don’t write or don’t write what’s deeply in their hearts. So they depressed because they can’t be themselves on the page, and sometimes also in real life.

5. Overwhelmed and Confused

The overwhelmed and confused writer feels like everything’s so complicated. Deep down they desire simplicity and clarity, but never experience it, and that hurts. They’re overwhelmed by all the information, all the experts, all the noise. How can they find the right path for them through all this? And is there a right path? Who should they listen to? It’s all so much. Overwhelmed writers are also often perfectionists, too.

6. I Want It All

Writers who want it all right now are often ambitious and avid learners, but secretly desire for all the hard parts of writing to be done now, so they can get to the good parts — having written and receiving accolades. They often secretly think there is a right way to do things, but feel they can never know what that right way is, since it’s a moving target. Hopelessness shadows them, but they keep taking more classes and reading more books (and not writing) to keep the dark shadows at bay.

Now What?

Breathe. Your desire for writing and sharing your stories is still there, yes? There is a path from here to where you want to be.

But first, I understand that this list can feel confronting. Just know that we all have our blind spots.

We all can learn to have compassion for them and accept, and even appreciate, these types for what they are: behaviors, innate or cultivated, that can be changed.

Be gentle with yourself as you recognize yourself in this list.

Next week, I’ll post solutions I noticed work well with these 6 types.

I am curious… do you see yourself in any of these? Are you in a different kind of writer pain? Post in the comments your replies. Thanks.


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Update: Part 2 is here.



Beth Barany is creativity coach for writers, a teacher, workshop facilitator, and speaker, who helps fiction writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.

Owner of the Barany School of Fiction, an online training hub, Beth takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow, and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment.

Want to plan your novel, but not sure how? Check out the comprehensive Plan Your Novel course here.

She also writes magical tales of romance and adventure to empower women and girls to jump into life with both feet and be the heroes in their own lives.

Check out her Henrietta series here (YA Fantasy) and her Touchstone series here (Fantasy/Paranormal Romance).

Support her mission to empower women and girls with her fiction on Patreon here.

Read her latest book for writers, Twitter for Authors, here. More books for writers listed here.

The Writer’s Fun Zone blog is a service of Beth Barany’s coaching and consulting business, helping genre fiction writers write, market, and publish their books through live and home study courses, a 12-month group program, and private consultations.

You may share this content intact and with no changes with this attribution:

c. 2018 Beth Barany, Creativity Coach for Writers, www.BethBarany.com


  • Susan Policoff says:

    I have in my writing life been both the overwhelmed and confused and the closet perfectionist. I have gotten a little bit beyond both, but not so far they don’t hover behind me on occasion.

  • Beth says:

    Susan, Thanks for sharing. They do still hover, don’t they? I so understand.

  • Hugh Tipping says:

    I think I can find a bit of myself in all of those categories.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Thanks for commenting, Hugh. Good to know! Me too! I think that’s why I can write about them. 😉

  • I can definitely relate to the Open Perfectionist and this is probably one of the reasons why I’ve yet to complete a book manuscript.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Carrie, I hear you. The type can be very challenging, but I know Open Perfectionists who have found way to complete their book manuscripts. There is hope! If you’d like to complete a manuscript, there is a way.

  • Christine Cassello says:

    I am a 5 and 6 on this list.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Christine! That’s useful for me to hear. Check out the solutions I post here: http://writersfunzone.com/blog/2018/02/07/6-types-of-writer-pain-and-how-to-to-resolve-them-part-2-by-beth-barany/.

  • Mary Van Everbroeck says:

    At my present stage of learning to write I choose, ‘Overwhelmed and Confused’. Beth, I found this to be a very interesting Post. Thanks.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Thanks, Mary, for sharing your stage. I appreciate it.

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