Writing is an interesting adventure. As artistic people, we are confronted with a measure of our fears on an almost daily basis. We pour a piece of ourselves onto the paper, allow our dearest critique partners to bleed it dry before showing it to others. And the “others” we show it to are charged with the responsibility to judge this very subjective piece of hearts.
Yep – it takes a lot of courage to be a writer.
As most of you know, my real life has been a bit hairy this week. And I have spent a lot of time talking with various writer friends about confidence – or the lack there of – that some of us feel from time to time. In the midst of these conversations, I realized that I don’t typically have a confidence problem in my real life. I am clear about my strengths in my job, and proceed most days without even a hint of insecurity.
This doesn’t seem to translate to my writing life. More often than not, I find myself having to tame the beast inside – you know, the one that strips away pieces of your confidence one word at a time; the one that says “You’re not a good enough writer”, or “What were you thinking – you’ll never publish a book.”
I read a blog post on Monday that said that writing is an act of courage – I believe this whole heartedly. It is probably the most courageous thing I have ever done (and, by the way, I have swam with sharks…literally). Check out the article. I think Dani Shapiro does a great job of talking about this issue.
The bottom line for me is that the only way to survive long term in this artist field is to believe that we have the talent to do so. And we must surround ourselves with our own personal cheerleaders – those people who can remind us of our talents, help us slay the beast inside, and restore our nerve when it just gets too hard.
In honor of my own cheer squad – and you know exactly who you are – thank you for the things you do everyday to remind me that I will see my book in print one day!