How to Live Your Dream When You’re Terrified of Criticism
Emmaly Beck

…especially if you are being called to do something creative or meaningful. You then have a responsibility to bring it to life.

You know, I would ‘debate’ fear in my mind. I would pray and meditate, meditate and pray…. I would read about it, listen to audios, if there were documentaries on TV, I would watch. I felt as though ‘fear’ had a total grip on me, that no matter how I turned, it would be there. It had already eaten into my self-esteem, and had become a greater part of my life.

I could blame family members, bullies at school, society at large as being responsible but I can’t help but feel, it really is my own problem. It has certainly made its presence felt when I write, so much so that for a number of years, I’d stop writing and some months later, I would begin again.

I would show my writing to people; established writers who had won prizes, writers who were published; go to exotic writing retreats where TV presenters turned writers, crime writers who would look at your work reluctantly. Basically all would hint that you might have a bit of talent or tell you ‘writing’ is natural gift. ‘Writing cannot be learnt!’

But then it occurred to me.

I realised I had spent too much time idolising writers. If only, I would tell myself, I could write like them…. And of course, as I am constantly thinking this, it is interfering with my own output. But I realised that I cannot be or write like those other writers: they have their own path, their own purpose, which they are carrying out. In my case, I have something to write about; something to say even though I may not know what that is, I have to continue in my way, in my own style. It will be valid. It is not my place to imitate other writers.

Fear will always be there, acting sometimes in my favour and most times not. But this is a time, when I can tell fear to back off. It has no place in my writing as I’ve suddenly become aware of my responsibility. Thanks for this.