How Being Vulnerable In Your Art Can Be The Path To Freedom
Dear Fellow Writer,
I know you’re afraid.
I know you’re wondering whether its worth even beginning.
Maybe you’re thinking others have written this before and better.
You could be confident you’re going to get rejected.
It might be you believe your story sucks and no one will be interested.
Or you’re wondering if you can really do justice to the message desperately want to share.
Are you a writer and ever experienced one or more of these, or something similar? I’m guessing so. And how do I know this? Because I’ve been there. Many times.
I’ve had 5 books published, read by thousands of people, and I still feel that way when I come to write.
I have more book ideas I want to write, andI’ll likely have this kind of anxiety with those as well. But what I’ve learned over the course of those 5 books is that it is possible to have those anxieties — and still break through and create the work you were made for.
Writing a book, a blog post, a poem — whatever you’re writing — it’s a courageous act. You’re making yourself vulnerable. You’re sharing a piece of yourself with the world.
In many ways, writing something and then having it published, can be like taking your heart out of your body and putting it on show for people to see.
Overcoming our writing anxieties, is akin to having to courage to be vulnerable.
If you have anxiety or fear about your art, you’re not alone.
In fact, most writers, somewhere deep inside, feel insecurities and anxiety about their work.
The question is, do we have the courage to write our story and share it with the world?
Breaking Through Fear, Together
It would be easy to give up. Seriously, I’ve considered it several times, even recently. Why bother if people are going to reject my writing — because if they reject my writing, they’ve rejected me. Right?
And that’s where we need to surrender ourselves and change our mindset.
What I’ve learned from my own dealings with deep anxiety and insecurity about writing, is that we need to stop defining our value by what we do, and recognise we have value because we are alive.
And the value of our stories, our words, isn’t defined by anyone else. Our words have value because we wrote them.
This is the key to breaking through that vulnerability barrier. When we define our value by who we are, not by what we do, we can let go, and be free to risk, free to fail.
Because we all have failures. That’s part of life.But that doesn’t make us a failure as a person.
Being vulnerable will always be scary. There will always be insecurities around our work. We’re sharing a part of who we are with the world — and that’s not easy. And if our work doesn’t do as well as we’d hoped, there will be a grieving.
One book I launched didn’t do as well as I hoped, and I as much as I believed it was a success just for being published, there was still a grieving I had to go through for the limited success it had.
But I grieved this failure — and focussed on the emails and messages I got from the relatively few people who read it, telling me how much it had impacted them
And ultimately, these came to mean so much more to me than sales figures.
I ultimately chose to believe I was a success because the book had been published. And this freed me from the control of fear and anxiety, and allowed me to celebrate the achievement of having the book published
I mean, so what if others have more qualifications or followers? That doesn’t give their stories more value. Your story is your story. It has value because it’s yours.
We might be sharing a similar set of ideas — but we’ve never heard them in your voice.
As I said, I still have insecurities about my writing. Being vulnerable is still scary. But what I’ve learned is you can overcome your fears. You can learn to manage them, and free yourself from their power. Put them in the back seat of the car, instead of allowing them to be the driver.
A decision to separate your value, and the value of your story, from the response, gives you just enough courage to dare to share your work with the world. And the moment you do, you’re a success. Whatever the outcome. And I want that for you too.
What I do now is help others tell their story. I work with writers with stories to share, and help them overcome their fears. I help authors distill their creative ideas into a clear, simple plan and outline to follow, and make the whole process less overwhelming.
And I’m with them every step of the way providing encouragement, support, and practical assistance as they do the work of sharing their stories with the world.
I do that simply because I fundamentally believe all our stories matter, because all of us matter. So we shouldn’t let fear control us, but instead, learn let go and be willing to be vulnerable.
I knew there were others like me, writers crippled by anxiety and fear. And I knew I want to connect with them, have community, and create a support network for others like me — so none of us have to be alone.
And this became Anxious Writers. It’s a space online for writers struggling with crippling fear and anxiety, in their life and work. A private, free, safe space to be vulnerable and get support on your journey.
You can join the Anxious Writers community here.
If you want more one to one support, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org & we can set up a chat. I’d love to help you overcome your fears.
I’m done letting fear stop people I know with great stories from sharing their work and finding their voice.
So don’t be afraid. Dare to step out and share your story. And in the midst of your anxieties and insecurities, know you are not alone.
With you all the way,
(Originally posted on www.JamesPrescott.co.uk — go there and sign up to get two FREE e-books, ‘Dance Of The Writer’ & ‘Unlocking Creativity’.)