Thursday, May 30, 2013

As I think, so shall I become...

A pretty ubiquitous theme in my blogs, posts, and videos is my desire to be a successful writer.

Writing for a living is really the only thing I can see my self doing when I imagine any future or outcome of my youth; it's just the only "career" that makes sense. I've been writing for a while now, which leads me to believe I understand a fair amount of the craft. I'm not an expert and I'm certainly not a master of the art, but I am familiar with the tropes, the plot devices, characterization, pitfalls, etc. I'm familiar with these "tools of the trade" to the point where I'm confident I can discuss it ad nauseam with anyone who'd listen.

So, if I'm so confident about my understanding of the topic and the bits and pieces that make up the craft, why am I so afraid to share what I've made?

At times I'm amazed and ashamed of how juvenile I can be at my age, and this fear of sharing what I make really tops the list. It's silly to fear criticism or reproach for the things I write and I know that, but that has not created within me any comfort or lack of fear. I understand the irrationality of the urge to avoid exposure and where the fear resides, but none of this diminishes the fear itself. It's irrational, that's just how fear works.

Really, the crutch of my problems are pretty contingent upon a few core fears:

1. What if I pour my heart into in something, share it, and have it thrown back at me because people don't like it.
2. What if I'm told that I should strongly consider pursuing another career, that even my best is a far cry from "good writing."

I feel almost silly after writing them down. I fully understand the flaws in this kind of thinking and the circular, self-fulfilling logic they create. For starters, no matter my audience, not matter my content, someone wont like it. That is something I need to learn to deal with, because it's okay if someone just doesn't like my work.

Secondly, and really the more frightening of the two, is the very real possibility that for all my trying and wanting, I really could just be terrible at writing. I have a relatively tough skin about most things, I'm not stranger to harsh words, but hearing that I'm not cut out for this, or that in spite of it all it's just not something I should pursue would crush me.

Again, I understand that these are irrational. I don't think someone is going to tell me my work is shit or that I should reconsider my career choices - but the fear is still real, and it's preventing me from trying.

I'm a big fan of conditioned psychology, so I feel that the only real solution here is to immerse myself in an environment where these fears have a really good chance of occurring so that I can experience them and understand that they won't in fact "crush me." I just have to accept that the only way I can grow as a writer is with criticism, failure, and hard work. If someone doesn't tell me what I write is shit once in a while, I'm not going to know what works and what doesn't.

So, I'm going to give it a shot. I don't think I have a large audience here, and I like that for now, but I'm going to put up a lot of what I write anyway, and in the off chance that someone reads it, I want to know what they think.