Yoda spoke great wisdom when he said fear leads to the dark side. And while this is a “duh” moment for me, it’s also a moment of reflection and renewal. I am learning that fear is dangerous, but at the same time, a bit of fear can be used for good. Translating into my own words, here are a few things friends have said to me. These friends are as wise as Yoda:
Momentarily Fearing Your Writing is Not a Bad Thing
All it means when you think you suck is that you are 100% normal, and right where you need to be. Only a fool believes his writing is brilliant and solid and will please everyone who is graced with its mere presence. Believe in your writing. Go to sleep with your heart full of pride at the beautiful, insightful, and exciting things you write, but wake knowing you can improve it. And when it’s published, rest assured you have set down a piece of yourself that captures you in a way nothing else can. Do not wish to change it. And, most importantly, when you experiment and keep writing, your projects will fluctuate. You are not constantly improving, so to say, but expanding. (Thank you, Scott and Davin)
There is Freedom in Rejection
Rejection hurts and stings, but it is also freeing. Being forced off a path we think is right for us can help us see there are other paths to take, and that perhaps our brilliant work wasn’t quite ready for what we hoped. Or perhaps it simply doesn’t fit in a certain place. Allow yourself to open a door when a window is shut. You can fit more easily through a door, anyway.
Publishing is Like Any Other Huge Life Event … Just More Public
And, therefore, for people like me (an HSP, and very sensitive to such changes), even more difficult to deal with because it feels like EVERYONE IS WATCHING … and judging. I think it’s valuable advice to learn how to separate our public and private lives right off the bat. Caroline Starr Rose, a brilliant writer I’ve known for awhile, sent me the most beautiful emails yesterday and today, and also sent me a picture of a poster she keeps on her wall. She created the poster herself (designed by Jeff Fielder), from a series of posts she did awhile back concerning the public, private, and writing life of a debut author. Carolyn has given me permission to post a picture of her poster. Click to see it larger.
So, as you can see, there is hope for authors struggling with the craziness of putting themselves out there. Being a writer and being an author are two separate things. Doing both is a big deal and obviously takes a lot of adjustment. Like separating wheat from the chaff, separating productivity from fear is a necessary step to fostering a happy writerly life.