Fear of not knowing and how to deal with it

What are you going to do if you don’t know a wee bit about some outrageously obscure and deliberately confusing subject but you need to write about it anyway? Not knowing a thing about a subject but badly in need to write about it – is legitimate nightmare fuel. It happens sometimes – you get an assignment on a topic you have no idea about. Like really nothing. Nothing at all. And you don’t know what to do. You definitely don’t want to screw the things up and mediocre is certainly not your kind of quality. That’s a tough situation. But there is nothing particularly scary about it.

Fear of not knowing things is OK. In fact – it is what drives you to improve yourself. And when you take a step into the unknown – it is not as hard as you thought. The problem is that it is the passing though the mist of fear what is hard. Because fear of not knowing ain’t going to leave you just because you dive into research or start to write. No! It will stay and it will irritate the hell out of you – up to the point when you’ll force yourself to drop out.

Since the last thing is not an option in any possible scenario – you need to know one or two ways of getting around the fear of not knowing in order to write about things you know nothing about.

Here is the ultimate step-by-step instruction of battling fear of not knowing. An assorted collection of steps you need to take in order to beat the fear of not knowing:

1. Get yourself together

The first step of the journey is the hardest. The easiest way to take the hardest step is not to think about it as the first step and just do it casually. You need to put yourself into a constructive, creative mindset. Shut yourself off the negative thinking, get behind your lovely distractions – concentrate on the thick black void and tell it “Hey boyo, the time is now! Ya gonna get hurt very-very bad! Ya gonna crawl milquetoast fab and leave a bloody trace!” (You don’t really need to tell it exactly that way – you just need to ensure yourself in your intentions.)

2. Don’t Hurry

Don’t try to make things faster than they go. Even if you’re on the deadline – never try to force things to happen before it is time. While this might be pretty nervous you need to remember that rushing never really helped anyone.

Stay calm and do your thing one by one.

3. Collect the Intel

After you put yourself into a correct mindset – you can start to gather some information on the subject. Don’t bother to read it all thoroughly at this point. Just collect it. After the initial rush you can start organizing the data.

Software organizers can help you. My personal pick is Scrivener. It is deep, down and dirty application with wide reaching arsenal of handy functions. It is also easy to handle and updates are pretty frequent. It works perfectly in a combo with MS WORD and other text-processors – so you don’t need to worry about incompatibility troubles.

4. Dive deep into the Material

After you’ve finished gathering the initial information – you can start immersing yourself into the material. This will help you to get the picture of the subject on a macro level. In turn – this will help you to single out certain elements that will need further research. Why it is important? You need to understand the undercurrents of the subject and get a clear vision of its inner workings. Without that you will never get a firm grasp on a subject and possibly will never get past the surface level. While it sounds a bit complicated – it is really easy to do. You just need to write detailed and specific search requests on a search engine of choice. It is important to single out few elements of this phase:

  • research of other research – this means you need to surf through various reviews and abstracts and other little things that refer to the subject of your interest. Opinionated writing gives you the perspective in which the topic is generally perceived;
  • look at the background – this means you need to reconstruct in your head the circumstances under which the topic appeared as a concept in the first place;
  • study the images – visual representation is another very important factor in understanding perception of the subject. Although you will probably need to go through a variety of image placeholders (detailed search request might minimize that) – but that’s not a problem.

5. Solidify your own Perspective

This stage might take some time because you need to digest all the things you have perceived so far. You need to understand how do you see the subject and how do you want to represent it in your text. There are three elements that you need to get straight:

  • possible points of view on a subject – whether it is having positive or negative implications on a topic, how it is perceived by various groups of recipients;
  • mechanics of a subject – how it works and the way it affects the undergoing of a topic;
  • your method of deconstruction – in order to give reader a clear understanding of the way you perceive the subject you need to laid bare your tools before you will start using it. That will prevent the asking of many needless questions.

That’s it. By taking these steps you will effectively eliminate any notion of fear of not knowing things. Even more – you will forget that this thing ever bothered you. What do you think about? Tell us in the comments. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.