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Strategies for Authors and Other Entrepreneurs

Sep 3, 2019

How do you deal with the fear of judgment as a writer?

Show Notes: Hello Indie Authors! I'm Valerie Ihsan, and this is Season Two, Episode 23 of the podcast and it's 9/3/2019 as I record this.

Main Topic: Fear of Judgement 

But first the personal update segment: • Course work for Sweet Spot Strategy. It's all about sweetening the deal and settling on my pricing for this particular signature service.  • Some Passion Planner news coming up in the next week's episode, so check back in then for that tidbit. • If you want to talk to me for a 30-minute interview and tell me what your challenges are and what you think can help you, you can book yourself a call at and choose the Interview Call option.

• I'M READING: In fiction, just finished JF Penn's Map of Plagues and now I've started Joe Wilkins debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die; Non-fiction: Jeff Goins' Real Artists Don't Starve.

PATREON: No new patrons this week. I'd like to remind everybody that this podcast is sponsored by my supporters at Patreon. For as low as a $1/mo, you can get a shout out on the podcast, a monthly connections video where I'm just myself and share something more personal than I put out on the podcast, and at other tiers, the benefits increase--free books, free editing, and free coaching. Become a patron of the arts, and of me! Find me at 

Resources: My Patreon page. BECAUSE, at the $25/mo level, you will get a 30-minute coaching call with me every month. They will be recorded, so you can keep a collection of advice on hand and won't need to take notes during our conversation. This is LESS EXPENSIVE than if you were to buy a regular coaching session with me. In fact, it's a 33% discount. So, go check it out at

And now: Fear of Judgement

I battled with this for decades. I'm 45 and I've been judged my whole life, about something or another. Even if we claim to be non-judgmental people, we still judge. Well, we categorize. That's a bit different. More like labeling people, which is a form of judgment. 

When you judge a book by its cover, you are saying, "I will like this book because the cover looks professional and I know it's written in a particular genre that I like to read." That's more categorizing. But if we look at it and say, "I won't like this book because the cover looks boring and so the book must be boring," probably we are judging it. Without checking inside to make sure.

Now, because there are millions of titles out there, we have to judge a little. We have to categorize. We simply don't have the time (nor inclination) to read every title out there. So when we put our books out into the world and people don't read them, don't despair. You just haven't identified your audience yet. Or, you have and they just don't know about your book yet. The people that are passing on it are the ones that don't read in your genre, or the book description indicates it's a topic they probably won't be interested in. (Categorization.)

I've done a lot of work around fear of judgment, stemming back to my cultish upbringing and permeating into my romantic relationships. It wasn't until I'd worked through most of that self-delusion and fear of judgment that I was emotionally open to finally meet the right man and now I'm happily married to him. 

But that's not what this podcast is about. 

What it is about is looking at that fear of judgment that you might have. Because I thought I'd worked through so much of my past baggage, I didn't think I had any residual fear of judgment, but, I discovered, that was false.

A few years ago, I was working through the workbook edition of Joanna Penn's The Successful Author Mindset, and that question came up. "What are you self-censoring? What are you afraid of sharing for fear of judgment by other people?"

I was pretty stunned at the answer within.

It was a long journal entry, but what it boiled down to was, "What if everything I write is misinterpreted as being thinly-veiled autobiography--and it's not?"

Joanna's answer was to "write another book, because who we are right now changes and the next book is something else again." The chapter ended with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic: "The reaction to your art does not belong to you--and that is the only sane way to create."

And that's it for Fear of Judgment. Next week I'll go over the process of monthly reviews and how that can help you with confidence in your projects and in your business.