The Insecure Writers! For those who don't remember, it's an online group created by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers. Most of whom are insecure. So we support each other from the safety and comfort of our desks.
I've been thinking about this particular post for a while. Not the content, exactly, but the fact that it's an IWSG post, and what that means.
I have to admit that I've mostly used IWSG Wednesdays as an opportunity to vent about my most recent and pressing set of insecurities. Occasionally (ok, once) I used it to share an inspiring idea.
And there's nothing wrong with any of this; that's part of what a support group is all about.
The thing is, I don't really want to do that this week. I want to try something new.
It's been a rough week. Not bad, necessarily, just tough. A lot of ups and a lot of downs, which, as I'm learning, is part of being an author. Some people will love your work, and some will hate it, or, even worse, just not care much about it one way or the other. And somehow, through all of the conflicting feedback/responses/reviews/etc., I have to learn how to keep my head on straight and not pay too much attention to the criticism or the praise.
That's not easy. And that's not specific to writers, either.
Anyone who has ever cared about anything they produce, in any deeply personal way, has to struggle through this, too. Artists, yes, but also any person who loves and cares about their job or their cooking or child-rearing, or whatever that thing is, that thing that motivates and inspires and drives each of us to work and work more and hone and perfect and sweat and curse and laugh with sheer joy. That thing that comes from somewhere inside us, somewhere intensely personal and, I think, profound. It could be a presentation at work, a novel, a painting, a research study. It could be anything.
It's different for each of us, but sharing it with the world is universally terrifying. We take a part of ourselves, a piece of our being that we value tremendously, and offer it up to the rest of the world for judgement. It could be incredible, everything we've ever dreamed of, but it could also be a disaster.
No wonder so many of us choose not to take that risk. This is why people write books and then put them in drawer to sit and gather dust for thirty years, or create an innovative business plan for a start-up and then shelve it forever.
Here's the thing, though: it's terrifying and risky, but it's also vital. I can't help but think that it's better to try, and possibly to fail, then to never share the best part of yourself. It's a cliche, but it's true - if you never try, you'll never be able to succeed. You'll never know how amazing it could be, to realize your best and deepest dream. If it doesn't work, I have to think it's better to know that I tried, that I did everything I could, than to spend the rest of my life filled with regret, wondering, "what if...?"
So that's what all of this preamble is about. That's what I'm trying to say: it's normal to be afraid, but don't you dare let it stop you.
If you need more, there's this, from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same...”
Whoever you are, reading this right now, feeling terrified, I hope this helps, in some way. You're not alone at ALL, and all of the rest of us can't wait to see what you have to share. Please share it.