The Exhilarating Yet Terrifying and Necessary Process of Truly Putting Yourself and Your Work Out There
As people, we have an arsenal full of nuclear excuses for why we don’t do things we probably should or possibly could, hoping the tales we tell ourselves and others will camouflage our fear. Praying not a soul will notice we’re scared to fucking death. Scared to show others our true selves, to expose our real nature. To do what we dreamed of doing as kids — whatever it may be.
If writing is hard, sharing it with others is exasperatingly difficult. But to write and let the pages collect dust in a dark closet is to rob ourselves and others of its potential value. It’s the easy way out. We might as well have just kept it all in. If it comes screaming out of you, it’ll probably speak to others.
To think of all the novels that never were because they never made their way out of the cages of the composition books they were first written in. Imagine the amount of brilliant work that has been buried in boxes and basements throughout all of time. These tales may be even greater tragedies than the best ever published— but the tragedy lies in the fact they were never shared with the world instead of in the stories themselves.
For a long time, I just wrote in notebooks. Filling them with fierce and sometimes frantic thoughts, for my own eyes and entertainment only. Partly because I didn’t know what else to do with them and partly because I was so stubbornly certain nobody cared. Though back then, there was no publish button to hit — I’m still able to see most of my hesitation to share any of it with others was based in my own fear of what they’d say or think. What a waste.
Then along came the internet and I don’t know where my courage came from but I dove right in the deep end. I began sharing my every thought in an unapologetic fashion. I simply didn’t care, I was all in. I didn’t wait for permission or ask for forgiveness and thankfully I still don’t today. I just write and put it right out there for the world to see. It can be awkward and exhausting. Daunting as it is demanding. It can feel unmanageable at times. It’s easier doing so on some days than it is on others but it’s always worth it.
I often have to remind myself; to write, simply hit publish and hope for the best is not enough today. I have to not only share my work wherever possible but find new outlets for it as well. It doesn’t always have to be pristine but it has to go public. As long as I don’t wait until it’s perfect, I’m progressing.
Sure, I still have my “why even bother?” moments. But I write my way through them until I eventually remember why it is I do what I do, which is because I have to. Because I don’t know what else I’d be doing if not this and I quite literally can’t afford not to put everything I have into it, so I can get all I can out of it and give others a chance to get as much as they can out of it as well.
It’s truly a magical and freeing feeling. One that finds a way remind me why I put my work out there in moments I begin to forget and it feels arbitrarily pointless. Because If I wasn’t, then why even bother to write to begin with? Journaling may help clarify the mind but writing and sharing it with others cleanses and frees the soul. I find my best self through sharing my worst parts.
If we never leave ourselves open and vulnerable, we’ll remain unnoticed. This doesn’t solely apply to writing either. If you never take risks, rewards will be few. Don’t expect a return on an investment you didn’t make.
So shoot your shot, plant your seeds and sail your ships. Publish your piece, make your YouTube video, start your podcast — ask him or her out. What do you have to lose and how does it compare to what you could potentially gain?