Did you ever have a dream about going to school naked? I sure did.
Does that happen to you anymore?
It probably happens more than you think, but in a different form.
Many writers dream of success in the form of a book publication, career freedom through a successful blog or a consistent list of clients to write for on a daily basis in a freelance writing career.
However, there is one aspect of writing that creeps up on many writers that isn’t much different from that dream of everyone laughing at you in class because you forgot your pants.
I’m talking about the fear of exposure.
I often feel like people don’t want to read what I have to say.
Why? Writing reveals sensitive, personal information that informs others of insecurities, emotions and secrets.
The fear of exposure is especially apparent when sharing your writing with family members, friends and coworkers. They don’t know you as the writer who spills everything to create a piece of art. Will people judge you? Will friends make fun of you? Could your writing even cause trouble at your day job?
Unfortunately, fear of exposure is the equivalent to the fear of success.
So how can you battle this nightmare of rejection and ridicule?
Failure is a natural part of life, particularly in the realm of writing. This is what forces many people to house a manuscript in their desk for years or refuse to contact other bloggers to make connections.
When I auditioned for the musical in high school, I was terrified of not receiving the part I desired, or worse, not being selected at all. As a freshman, I didn’t know anyone who performed in the musicals, so I asked my football friend to join me at the audition.
I didn’t get the part I originally wanted. In fact, I was cast as a background dancer. I had never danced in my life. I only acted and sang. Thankfully, this rejection was soothed by the laughter of my friend, who told me to try it out in case I actually liked it. Lucky for me, I did two years of backup dancing and during my senior year I gained a lead role.
Having a friend to laugh at failures and push you further is imperative for the sanity of writers or any other artist.
Jump in the Water
I spent a few weeks in Monterosso, Italy where some friends and I were dared to jump off a forty foot cliff into the cold Mediterranean Sea. As I climbed to the top of the black, jagged rock my knees trembled and the sea suddenly seemed much smaller than the heap of boulders that jutted out from the water.
I mustered up the confidence and jumped – and let me tell you it was wonderful.
Sometimes the road to excitement, success and great experiences makes you want to hurl. Being exposed through your writing is the only road to success. Everyone wants the publication deal and book tours, but the road to get there is daunting. All writers want that feeling of refreshment and joy, but the sharp rocks make it a bit frightening.
The only solution is to jump in the water and hope for the best, because it’s only natural to be nervous.
Fear acts as a filter for success. If no one had any fear everyone would be successful.
An old football coach of mine used to preach the importance of imagining yourself making multiple successful plays before a game started. He instructed the team to close our eyes and visualize every aspect of making the perfect throw, catch, block or tackle.
This mentality links your mind to your actions and allows you to actually perform more confidently.
The same goes for writing.
Visualize yourself writing everyday, clacking away at your keyboard or scribbling on a notepad. Then visualize yourself sharing your work with people you know and with people who could turn it into something more, like a publisher. Visualize an email, call or meeting where your writing is accepted, paid for or praised.
Reality starts in your mind. It may not end exactly the way you envisioned. You may get bumped a few times before making the tackle, but doing something a second time is always a little easier.
Post in the comments section to share your experience with fear and how you overcome it.