Imagine: a group of writers are facing their greatest fears in front of millions of viewers. No, it wouldn’t involve eating blended organs or being buried in bugs. The challenges would be much worse. Perhaps on Day One, everyone would have to come up with a story and write 20,000 words by sundown. Day Two could involve the ruthless slashing of adverbs and adjectives in Day One’s writing, leaving few survivors and avoiding structural collapse. Day Three would be the worst of all: sending this writing into the world for all to see, alone and unguarded.
I’ve been dealing with these gremlins a lot lately and especially the challenge of Day Three.
Writing, once we are inspired and involved, is easy. Sharing is scary. Our thoughts are out there for the world to see and judge. What if it’s not good enough? What if it makes me or my loved ones vulnerable? What if it’s offensive to someone? The list can become quite lengthy and in the end, it has very little to do with anything other than fear. It’s like sending our children off to school and hoping they’ll make friends despite the fact they may occasionally pick their noses.
Writers are brave souls by nature. We go places in the dark without a map and take chances so we really need to get over this insecurity. If our children come home with a black eye occasionally – and they will – we can deal with it.
Stephen King said it very well in his book, On Writing:
“I have spent a good many years since–too many, I think–being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.”
Writing is a journey into imagination. We share our unique view of the world through poetry or prose. Not everyone is going to appreciate the images we capture but there are always those who will be grateful to us for taking them along on the trip.
If we are deeply concerned about being accepted by all, we should not become writers. Be brave stepping into the light of publicity. We’ve traveled where no one has gone before and that’s something to celebrate!
Please leave me your thoughts in the comments so we can compare notes! 🙂