When I started writing in public for the first time, I worried how people close to me would react.
What would my friends say if mined our confidence for a story?
What would my mother think if I wrote about sex?
Will people think I’m odd if I describe how I get up at dawn to write and that I sometimes prefer being alone in a small room with a warm idea to the company of others?
I felt like an imposter.
Who are you to call yourself a writer? Get out of here before I call the police!
My fears held me back from being honest on the blank page and from writing what other people think.
These selfish fears held me back from my best mistakes, from surprising opportunities, and from becoming a better writer.
I should have wrote about the party where I drank too much and embarrassed myself, the time I was fired and what happened next.
I should have shown my warts because that’s our job.
What I do
Each morning when I sit down in front of the blank page, I can feel its paws on my shoulders pressing me down, its cold breath in my ear, his raspy voice telling me, “You’re not good enough.”
I step forward one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one idea at a time. I force myself to press publish. Then, I reach out to others and show them what I’ve done.
When they don’t believe me, I show them my wounds
Do you know what happened when I did this for the first time?
Our would-be readers are more concerned with the problems in their lives than anything you and I are too afraid to say.
Our problem isn’t what people think of our work, that we’re damaged or ambitious, it’s convincing them that our words are worth their time.
So write damn it.
Don’t hold back.
And press publish.
Each one of your words is an arrow in the belly of the beast.