So that got your attention did it? Just to be clear this post is not about the wild moments of naked abandon in our youth. Oh – was that just me? My bad. Let me just file that away for another blog…..
Writing and creating can be scary stuff. It is taking the flotilla out of your head and getting it down on something solid, be it paper, laptop, etching stone, whatever.
Have you ever had that moment when you were thinking something really weird and you looked over and saw someone staring at you? You know the look I mean. The one that says ‘ewwww, I stepped in something that looked just like you the other day’. You are absolutely, heart-stoppingly certain that they knew exactly what you were just thinking. And boy, was that thought a doozy. Writing is scary like that.
For me, putting my work into the world is like walking around naked in bright, completely unflattering, unfiltered sunlight. Folks, it’s not pretty. It is showing my barest self and then gritting my teeth while I brace myself for the onslaught of opinions. Simultaneously it is both terrifying and thrilling.
My closest emotional analogy is that moment at the top of the roller coaster when you have just a few seconds to see the expanse of endless landscape afforded only from that vantage point and you think “my gosh (or holy *$#(@ depending on your mastery of the English language), the world is so beautiful from up here” before your body drops out from under you and you think to yourself, “this wasn’t my best idea” as you plummet to the earth. You twist and turn for a few more minutes before leveling out but the rush lasts long after the ride is over.
Yup, writing publically is like that for me.
Luckily I have lots of other fear/thrill seekers in my circle of friends so I went on a quest to find out how these other artists feel about sending their work out into the universe for all to judge.
“Sending my writing out into the world feels like cutting the anchoring rope on a hot air balloon, with a dizzying ascent into the unknown”, responded author and friend Vicki Tremper. She takes that sky ride regularly on her blog and through her YA books.
Singer Mike Acerbo, who just released his debut album titled “The Search”, not only solos on his album but wrote all of his own songs. I give him double points for bravery since he is putting both his writing AND voice out for public scrutiny.
Mike had this to say about putting his art into the world: “When I put my first song out on the internet it was absolutely terrifying. You just never know how people are going to respond. You are revealing the most inner part of your soul when you share your art. It’s like having immediate intimacy with complete strangers and you are subject to their feelings of you. You also have to learn to let go and let your art be what it is to the beholder as sometimes your intention and their interpretation are entirely different.”
So for the individual artist, the way we analogize is different, but the scary factor is always there.
Terry isn’t someone I interviewed or a friend, but he is an author and this is an awesome quote, so here it is: “It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
I think this holds true, even when that someone is that little voice inside that says, ‘don’t go out there, you’re not ready and the world will judge’. If we were a saner bunch, Vicki, Mike and I would just close our heads, pack up the words, and go about our daily business without throwing our self-esteem out on to the front lawn on mowing day. But we’re not.
Thankfully, besides my crazy friends and I, there are millions of other brave souls who also tuck the scary factor away and share their art with the world. Well, except for authors like Steven King, who basically take the scary factor, ramp it up, and make us afraid to bury our goldfish in the backyard. Again, that is a whole other post….
Today I encourage you (yup, I am speaking directly to YOU) to brave the scary. And the next time you see someone buck naked and perched at the tippy top of a roller coaster, wave!