There’s something inherently scary in putting our writing out into the world. Writing is an act of personal, intimate creation and sharing that work can leave us feeling vulnerable and make putting a piece out there almost impossible for fear of criticism.
I know this feeling as much as any writer. After years of workshop-style feedback it’s a wonder I dared pick up the pen again. My characters were implausible, my plots trite–or was it the other way around?
Whatever the case it left me with doubts. Those doubts creep up and kept me from writing or finishing a project.
Even to this day I have moments when I feel as if everything needs to be perfect when it just needs to be done.
Sometimes it can be really scary to finish a writing project. That sounds counter intuitive because after all- isn’t that what we all want: to finish it and get it out into the world? Yes. And yet- no.
Sometimes there’s a force holding us back something inexplicable, something about the vulnerability or the rawness of being out there. It’s scary to know you might be (probably will be) judged and criticised.
The reality of the situation is that when we know our writing will be judged, we want it to be accepted–in that same way that we want that for ourselves. It’s a perfectly natural way to feel.
Creativity is a fragile thing, and negative feedback in the wrong moment can shut us down. As I’ve mentioned in previous reflections, the creative process and the editing process are two separate cognitive functions. I think we have all experienced a kind of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time that has shut down our creativity.
I know I have–and there were a lot of tears, and self-doubt, and writeless days and weeks that followed.
I don’t want that for you–I want you to bloom and grow forever (to quote my favorite musical. Anyone picking up what I’m laying down?)
I want you to be in that creative zone where writing flows, and you feel good about what’s happening, like it’s got some potential, and the inner critic is gagged and sleeping in the corner.
To that end, I am working on a whizbang (isn’t that a great word?) writers’ retreat in Martha’s Vineyard. I’d love to have you join us. Sign ups aren’t open yet, because I really want to hear from you: what do you need right now? What are you struggling with that we can wrangle down and get you published?
I’d love it if you took a moment to fill out this four-question survey to tell me how we can work together to bring out your best writer.
Until then, remember: People’s judgments of you are only manifestations of their own turmoil, not truly of you.
Don’t let other people limit your dreams. You have a story inside you–let it out.