Yesterday I sat across the table from my critique partner as we exchanged chapters and read them silently. I had a moment where I couldn't breathe, several seconds where I realized she was the first person to read the chapters, followed by thirty minutes of knowing it was possible that what I wrote was complete crap.
There are so many things similar about 'normal' work and this writing gig, except for one thing: even after we have written thousands, even hundreds of thousands of words, one novel or short story or poem after the next, there's a very real possibility that no one will get what we're tying to say, that people won't like the story or how we wrote it, that our writing won't measure up, that the point of our stories will be lost. We might just be fooling ourselves.
Terrifying, isn't it?
(I'm OK now, she liked it.)
As writers of fiction, especially poetry, we have to take a leap of faith. If we take the time and care to craft our stories and poems, we have to trust that people will like our writing - but not everyone. No one can please everyone. Some people will say, "I don't get it." Others will say they like it but think, "I don't get it." We will get bad reviews, but only have the chance to get good ones if we have the nerve to share our creative work with other people.
Even on days when we feel insecurity about our writing, we have to applaud ourselves for having the courage to let other people read our words.
A Pearl Jam song for your enjoyment...which has nothing to do with the topic except its title, "Just Breathe."
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This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.