I’m Exposed, Vulnerable and Scared Stiff

Yesterday I sent off my manuscript to some Beta Readers for the first time. This isn’t the first time that I’ve sent my current book to somebody else; it’s the first time that I’ve sent any of my writing to somebody else.

I have probably the obvious reticence about sending something that I’ve created into the outside world, but I also feel that I will now be judged on my whole life changing plan. Everybody knows that I’ve changed from a safe career to a completely unsafe future, where my potential for success rests upon my ability as a writer.

Why people create

All artists generate an idea that was nurtured in their mind, and create a physical expression of it, mainly for the purpose of showing it to somebody else. Your mind is like the untouchable part of who you are. You spend most of your time hiding what you truly think about people, and you are often embarrassed by your own thoughts in many situations. So the idea of creating a little window to expose your deep, dark secrets is frightening.

But this is what I want to do. I want to be seen by others, I want to show off… just as long as they all like it. Receiving the praise and the adulation, and the idea of entertaining people sounds fantastic. I am realistic enough to understand that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the fear of no one liking my tea is quite daunting.

My Life is in the Dock

I have changed from a very certain, conventional existence that I hated, to a much more unsure, potentially fulfilling, lifestyle. Everyone that knows me will have an opinion of that, and if my first book is received with a sharp intake of breath, then the pressure will mount.

I am in this for the long run, and I will continue to write, so I will not take the criticism as terminal, but if people don’t like it then it will definitely feed the inner demons.

Positive Visualisation

I am also a coach, and I would definitely advise a client to positively visualise their goal, in my situation. This helps, and I do partake. I’m sure that my own feelings are not as bad as some who are crippled by their own amount of fear. But nonetheless it is still there.

I will carry on regardless. Like I mentioned at the beginning, I have already sent them, so I will now just hold my breath for the next month, waiting and going blue.

Is this a common problem, if so let me know?


3 responses to “I’m Exposed, Vulnerable and Scared Stiff

  1. Well done Mike! I think it’s a big and important step, regardless of the discomfort. It’s too easy for us to procrastinate and gold plate things in the hope that it will be perfect when we release it, but the reality is that it’s just resistance to progress so congrats on knocking that down! You may love the feedback you get and you may hate it, or more likely it’s somewhere in the middle and a bit mixed. Don’t get over-excited about the positive nor too downbeat about the negative! At the end of the day it’s just some other people providing a view on your work, and their opinions are not neccesarily more worthy than anyone else’s so just take it on balance.

    Putting yourself out there is a bold and scary step, moreso when you’ve run up your flag to say ”this is me” (not just something I do on the side). The best pieces of advice I’ve picked up on this are:

    – be yourself and write what you love, what drives you.
    – understand that you are your target audience. You’re well equipped to understand what you love, you can only second guess what other people will love. Believe that there are other people like you out there and write for yourself (and so them).
    – you can be market-driven or you-driven. As I see it being market-driven just turns your writer’s desk into any desk in any office in the world, it’s just a job with only a fraction of you in it. If you’re you-driven then you’re producing stuff that will shine through and resonate with your audience. The problem is probably less about people liking it (you can’t please everyone), it’s about reaching your audience that you know will love it. But if you have nothing else you will have writing that you love, rather than just another job that you resent.

    Three ways to say the same thing I know! I appreciate it’s easy for me to say from the ”safety” of my corporate world but I do believe these things (and am digging my own escape tunnel). It’s very difficult to trust in yourself when you and your family are dependent on the success (rather than the journey), but I think that’s the only way you can succeed anyway.

    Just some random thoughts whilst stuck behind my desk staring out the window dreaming of freedom… 🙂

    Good luck with the feedback, I hope it helps.

  2. Thanks mate. Its part of the next extension of my escape tunnel. Sadly writing doesn’t come so easily to me as it does to you! 🙂

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