How to Train the Four Horsemen of the Writer’s Apocalypse by Kirsten McNeill

How to Train the Four Horsemen of the Writer’s Apocalypse by Kirsten McNeillLet’s welcome back Kirsten McNeill as she shares with us “How to Train the Four Horsemen of the Writer’s Apocalypse” Enjoy!


I love talking about confidence and mindset to help writers publish their stories without second guessing themselves. That passion has led me to create an analogy that I’m really excited about.

Your brain is a generator of ideas, and some of those ideas are thoughts that don’t serve you in a positive way. Each thought can be labeled under one of Four Horsemen of the Writer’s Apocalypse.

These horsemen run around a racetrack, each with their own set of thoughts trailing behind. There is no exit on this track. That is, not unless you create one for them.

Who are the horsemen?

1 Doubt: This one likes to make you wonder if you’re good enough at writing. It makes you question if you should keep pursuing your dream.

You second guess every decision you’re making when it comes to plot, characters, and your overall ability to be successful in your writing goals.

2 Criticism: This one critiques every little thing you do. It examines it under a microscope, and offers ideas on how to change it or make it “better”, which is such a subjective term.

It brings out your perfectionist side and takes away all the joy of writing. Criticism is not constructive, because all it wants to do is stop you from writing.

3 Stress: Are you always feeling like you’re falling behind?

Worried about meeting your self-imposed deadlines?

Kicking yourself when you don’t keep to your schedule?

Struggling to balance writing with other areas of your life?

That’s stress. Stress enjoys chaos.

4 Fear: This horsemen is all about vulnerability and holding you back from sharing your words and stories with the world.

It wants to keep you squished inside a little box, surrounded by a dark cloud of thoughts on the many ways other people could potentially judge you.

How can you train these horsemen to treat you better?

Step 1: Identify one thought and which horsemen is in control of it.

For example, “I don’t have enough time to write. I’m always falling behind.”

That thought belongs to Stress.

Step 2: Write that thought down in a journal. If you’re feeling particularly whimsical, you could even draw the horseman.

Once the thought and the horseman is on the page, that means you’ve taken it out of its closed-loop track in your mind. You’ve increased your power over it and can now view it objectively.

Step 3: Analyze if there’s any truth behind your thought and what it’s trying to tell you.

  • Do you really not have enough time to write?
  • Or are you just choosing to prioritize other tasks in your life?
  • If you really don’t have the time, is there something you can minimize to make room for writing time?

This is a good opportunity to think about what you want from your writing life and if there’s anything you can do to change your current routine.

Even if changing your routine to make time for writing feels impossible, write down some ideas on how you can change things anyway.

What ideas are you willing to entertain? 

As soon as you crack the door of possibility open, you can see the truth of what’s holding you back and explore ways to welcome change.

In this stage, you don’t have to make any set choices. This is about exploring possibilities and seeing what options are available to you, no matter how impossible they initially seem.

Step 4: Transform your thought to align with a creative sunflower mindset full of Confidence, Creativity, Joy, and Empowerment.

Your thought of “I don’t have enough time to write. I’m always falling behind” can become “I am choosing not to write today, but I’d love to introduce more writing time into my routine. There is no such thing as falling behind since I’m writing on my own schedule. I get to make the rules!”

This thought may seem wordy, but I want to show you a way to think that gives you permission to choose your own path and to take ownership of your decisions.

The new thought comes from a place of open possibility and control over your schedule. It comes from a place of Empowerment.

The next time you have a four-horsemen-thought running on your racetrack, replace it with something more positive.

Something more motivating that inspires you to follow your passion. 

The more you practice replacing your thoughts, the more it will become second nature.

Will the horsemen leave the racetrack for good?

You can’t completely get rid of the dark horses running through your mind, but you can learn how to control them.

Learn how to set them free and give them space in a new stable. Understand the thoughts you have and use them to your advantage by transforming them into something useful for reaching your goals.

Your brain is a generator of thoughts, and it’s your choice on what to do with those thoughts.

Will you choose to let them stop you from writing?

Or will you choose to take time to analyze them and see if they are actually warning you of danger or tricking you into believing a false reality?

I know you’ve got what it takes to jump over these hurdles! Never forget that you are worthy!



Kirsten McNeillKirsten McNeill is a Confidence & Writing Lifestyle Coach, Book Editor, and Self-Published Writer. Her mission with Worthy Writers Editing is to bring sunflower sunshine to the creative world connecting writers to the confidence and passion they desire to help them publish and share their stories.



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