I pause in my NaNoWriMo to ponder a question: Why can I write so diligently for a challenge and yet struggle to produce a single word for public viewing? It boils down to one thing- fear, fear of judgment.
To place one’s creation, one’s baby, out for the the public to critique is both exciting and scary. Hours of labor and love have been poured into even the smallest of pieces and though they are never truly perfect, you release it to prying eyes to be rejected or accepted. It is not for the weak, for certain, and as I am not a naturally outgoing person, I find this release all the more daunting. I am sure even the Type A among us must meet this challenge with a little apprehension and anxiety.
I suppose it’s a bit like when you send your child to school for the first time. You wonder if you’ve prepared them for the world, given them the tools to be both kind and confident. You hope that the others will be nice, accepting, and befriend your precious little one – flaws and all. These words, these creations, they are a writer’s child and we bring them to the world in the hope that they will be liked, accepted as well – flaws and all.
So why do we do it if it produces so much anxiety? Because, just like being a mother, you can’t stop being who you are.
There is this need to create, to invent new worlds that might whisk the reader away, even if for a little bit. Within the words one can become the hero, or find comfort in not being alone, gain knowledge through both works of fiction and non-fiction. I write in the hopes of somehow, someway, I might make the world just a little bit of a better place, a little more manageable.
If my works are imperfect or not of interest, I must accept that, but it does not mean I need to stop creating. One keeps going forward because they enjoy the journey and the words of praise that are received. The comments of interest or gratitude, not matter how few, make all those edits and cramped fingers worth while. It’s like finding the golden ticket in the bar of chocolate, and it is this that one must hold onto when confidence and fear slip in.
When I feel most vulnerable, when I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up on all of this foolishness that takes up so much time, I recall the thrill I felt when I unpacked the box that contained my first book or how excited I was to see my first newspaper article printed. Whether I am paid or not, seeing my words in print is rewarding enough and it is this that I keep in mind to keep me going.
Whoever you are, whatever your passion, don’t give up on it just because you aren’t getting rich and famous; do it because it brings you joy. Push through your fears and insecurities because somebody out there in the world will appreciate what you have produced because they know it is done as a labor of love.