Fear is death for writers. Fear cripples and keeps thoughts at bay. Or keeps them from being shared, which is just as bad.
But as an artist, and no matter what type of writing you do, you are an artist, it is hard to get beyond the fear. Every time you publish a piece, you are putting it out there for the world to judge, and, let’s face it, the internet has made it very easy for people to post hurtful critiques – it’s easy to forget that there are real people at the receiving end of those comments.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I know that to feel satisfied, i need to write. But I’ve let the fear conquer me. And this fear doesn’t just keep me from publishing things to my blog. It keeps me from writing period.
I used to write any and everything. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed researching and writing nonfiction. I enjoyed playing with my imagination and crafting works of fiction. But then something happened. I started applying for writing jobs and each job I applied for seemed like a shoe in, until I submitted my writing sample. And then, silence.
I began to doubt myself, and, in doing so, my craft. Every time I sat down to write, a voice in my head kept asking “is this good enough?” I was paralyzed.
So how do you overcome the fear once it has sunk in?
The first step, as with any problem, is to admit that there is a problem.
The second step is figuring out what to do about the problem, because choosing to not do something just because someone might think you did it poorly is sad.
For me, I found solace in hearing people critique well-known, highly successful writers, specifically J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. Here are 2 women who have sold millions of copies of their works and who’s stories touched readers enough to justify turning them into movies. Regardless of what critics say about writing quality or storytelling abilities, there are millions of people who have found something to love about these writers. Pleasing everyone is never going to happen. And as a reader who has found something to love in the works of both of these authors, and in the works that exist because of the changes Harry Potter and Twilight wrought on the MG & YA genres, thank goodness they didn’t listen to the naysayers.
The moral is, there will always be naysayers. I think, sad as it is, that this is just part of human nature. Sure, my book review or my piece on Harry Potter World may not be the most informative, well-written thing. But the next review or the next article I write will expand upon the things I learned. And if people criticize my work, well those critiques are things that I can add into my future work.
No one starts out perfectly, but if they did, how much fun would that be?