Fear kept me from writing for a very long time.

It was a fear of failure.

I had a bad writing experience as a child and I was so disappointed in myself that I gave up. I didn’t understand the creative process. I didn’t understand that you have more than one shot to get it right (this is especially true with writing). Now I know better. It doesn’t bring back those lost years but I can now disregard that tiny voice that says I’m no good.

Another fear that I’m still dealing with is sharing my work. I don’t know what it is that terrifies me so much…

Criticism? Not really – I kind of already know what’s wrong with my stuff. The adage that you are your own worst critic is definitely true for me. I actually like feedback – it gives me a good chuckle sometimes.

I think owning my writing is what I’m really afraid of – claiming something imperfect. Because I am a serial perfectionist.

When I talk about fear, I’m not talking about butterflies-in-your-stomach-nervousness level fear. I’m talking about voice-shaking-heart-exploding-from-your-chest-hyperventilation level fear.

For my writing group this last week, I had been preparing myself to pass my writing sample around and have it read silently. I was pretty comfortable with that (read: still a little nervous about it). I hadn’t made any suggestions about our method of sharing – I hadn’t wanted anyone to feel uncomfortable (read: I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable) . So, that’s what I was prepared for, psychologically – having other people read my work to themselves. You can imagine my panic when I went to writing group and it was suggested that we read our stuff aloud

Like, MAJOR panic, people.

And I had to. My writing group ladies (very politely) wouldn’t take no for an answer. And truthfully, I didn’t want to say no…

Alright, I wanted to, but I knew it would be good for me so I sucked it up…Also, I didn’t want to be the only person who refused, making myself look like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

And you know what? I love them for not letting me wriggle out of it. And I love myself for being brave despite how I was feeling on the inside. I can’t tell you how much anxiety I had as I was reading. It was very difficult. I know it’s just reading – I read aloud all the time to my children and it’s fun…When it’s your own stuff it’s different. I know that doesn’t seem rational, but that’s how it is – I can’t explain it, even to myself.

The wonderful women in my writing group were so supportive – it was just a great experience and I really enjoyed the whole night – despite how hard it was. I know it will still be hard next time, but I’m hoping it will be a little less hard.

It’s a fear I’d like to overcome someday. That probably won’t happen before the next writer’s group meeting, but you never know…


3 thoughts on “Fear

  1. I loved this! Especially the the part about “owning” something that was imperfect. Because nothing ever is. Where would the world be if everyone who had attempted to do something significant resisted because it couldn’t be perfect? You’ve struck a nerve.

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