Because I have pressed send on this blog post.
I imagine all the things that might be wrong with it. All the ways I am blind and privileged and indulgent and boring and cliche and out of date.
I imagine the specific things you might say to slag it off. I go through some of the people in my life and imagine all the holes they would pick in it.
I go through almost every sentence and find fault in it.
I can revise posts 20 times. Most posts I write never get published.
When it comes to writing a book, the noise in my head that tells me it’s shit is so deafening I am paralysed with fear.
I think of the world at large and imagine what they might say about it – my agent, my editor, book reviewers, other writers… I am particularly intimidated by the opinion of ‘book people’ because I do not consider myself to be one of them.
I am writing this to let you know that if you are putting off writing, painting, starting a business, taking pictures, going back to college etc because you are scared you are not good enough, welcome to the club.
I have been writing for almost twenty years (I got my first newspaper job at 24) and still I fear that everything I write is sh*t. That might sound like an exaggeration but it’s not.
If you are scared that people will criticise it and laugh at you, welcome to the club. When I started a blog about self-help I imagined all my journalism colleagues taking the p*ss.* I imagined family members cringing. I imagined guys googling me and running for the hills.
And in some cases those fears were justified. And it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I was doing the thing I was meant to do. I was becoming the person I was meant to become.
We cannot win all the people all the time and we shouldn’t try to. All that matters is that in this one wild and precious life we have a go at doing the things we want to do.
I also re-read The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.
Here are two great quotes from him:
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
And then this one:
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
So I suppose that means I have to keep going with the next book even though it scares the hell out of me.
And you need to do your thing too. And when you do I will be here to cheer you on.
*Many of my former colleagues became my biggest champions. People who looked so together from the outside would message me saying ‘I feel like that too.’ Speak your truth and your people will find you – and often they are not who would you expect.
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