You’ve spent weeks, no months, writing a book. It’s a work of art, the pages of which hold your very soul. But now the time has come to let it go. You have to let it fly out of the nest and await the inane opinions of the public. How do you summon the strength to show the inner workings of your mind to people that you don’t know?
Like any art, writing is an expression of the artist’s view of the world. It can’t be wrong. People will like it, some will love it, and equally some will not be able to stand it, but will your fragile confidence be able to handle the exposure? Millions of people write books that never see the light of day due to this reason alone. If you don’t believe in yourself enough to put it out there then what’s the point of doing it in the first place? Here are some thoughts that may help you to take the final plunge and push it out the door.
What have you been spending all of your time on? Get it published and move on. Nothing is ever perfect so don’t hide behind the illusion that you’re making it so. The idea of being a writer is about writing things down for others to read. These won’t be your last words, once you’ve clicked the button you can begin your next project, and the next, and the next. Who knows? One of them may be good some day.
I’ve read some books that are meant to be brilliant and not enjoyed them. I’ve read some books that are meant to be terrible and loved them. I’ve walked around galleries loving stuff and hating stuff in equal measures. Art is the most subjective form that exists in the world. People will either get your view or they won’t, that’s not your problem. You just need to show up, get it down, put it out there, and move on.
If we can learn anything by looking at some of the success stories from recent authors then it is this… it doesn’t matter how a story is written, if you can string together letters to make words and then if you put those together to make comprehensible sentences, then people will be able to follow it. The only thing that is important at the end of the day, that can capture a reader and keep them engrossed, is the story. Simple. The more you tart up the writing of it the more you polish the turd. Tell your story as best you can, publish it, and then tell another story.
If that pep talk is still not enough, then try out these quotes to stir your juices.
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it’s true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane. We become monsters and monstrous.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
‘Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.’
– Norman Vincent Peale
“All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.”– Mark Twain
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
If all of this fails then the last resort that helps me every time is drink. If you can’t summon up real confidence then pull up the false stuff instead.
Do you have trouble with the final act? Do you find yourself hovering over the button doubting the very world you live in? What helps you to get through it?