New Year, New Fear…

Hello Everyone!

First and foremost, I’d like to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year! I hope these first few days of 2014 are treating everyone well- better than well, I hope this year is treating you awesome so far! And I sincerely hope it continues to do so throughout. 🙂

So yesterday I was talking with my younger brother, Ben. I can’t call him my little brother anymore as he’s a bit bigger than I am now, but I’ve always been the skinny one, hehe. He said something really awesome, and I’d like to share that because I think it rings true for a lot of different things.

If you’re a writer, as many of you are, or even a painter, or sculptor, or singer- any form of artist, I’m sure you’re familiar with the monster of self-doubt. That nagging tiny voice in the back of our heads that tells us “no one wants to read, or listen to, or look at, your stuff. What you made is no good.” I understand there a lucky few who don’t get this (I’m a little jealous).

I was saying as much to my brother when he dropped this little wisdom on me. He said, “Stop writing for other people. Write for yourself. Write what makes you happy.”

I told him I was writing for myself.

“No,” he said, “You’re not. As long as you’re thinking about what others will think about, you’re not writing for you.”

Boom. Like a slap in the face.

It got me thinking. Do we, and by “we” I mean any person in the realm of creative endeavor, do we give strength to our doubt by unknowingly doing the work with others in mind? Could be as simple as that?

We loved the first project so much, it was still dripping with the juices of its birth when we sent it out to the world. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, our heads were swelled and we felt like we were floating!

Then we move onto the next project. We started it. We trashed it. We started it again. Something wasn’t right… We trashed it, we started it again. Then the thought hit us: What if I can’t do as good as the last project…

I hope I’m not alone in this train of thought. From those simple words my brother said to me, I saw that by thinking what if the next book isn’t as good, what I really meant was what if no one likes it.

I walked right out of doing what I love to do for me and into doing what I love to do for other people.

Okay, I don’t mean doing things for other people is bad. That’s not it at all. I mean taking your passion, your art, your voice, your words, and trying to make them fit what you think an audience wants. I think, personally anyway, that this might be a foothold for the doubt to build upon.

We need to go back to that place where we wrote, sang, painted, sculpted; back to where we did that for ourselves. When we did it because we loved it and didn’t care what anyone was going to think about it.

That’s my two cents on the matter anyway. It just also happens to be where I’m at currently. I just published my first book in December and so far lots of people enjoy it. But, as I mentioned above, it fills me with worry about the next books… Again, that’s where Ben slaps me with logic.

So, if anyone else is stuck, or afraid of the next project, or doubting their own ability, please let me slap you in the face with my brother’s logic.

🙂 STOP DOING IT FOR OTHER PEOPLE, DO IT FOR YOU! 🙂 DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! 🙂

(I added the smiley faces because I myself smile a lot)

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend folks! 🙂 Please feel free to comment, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. On a side note, I’ll be getting back to posting weekly short fiction. Hurray 2014! Keep your peepers peeled. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “New Year, New Fear…

  1. Hi Joe, thanks so much for sharing your brothers wise words with us. I totally, 100%, agree! I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve fallen victim to this brand of worry-monster…Your brother and you are so right – worrying about what other people/writers think can only lead to a creative death. I’ve been working through this issue since I started my blog (and many years before), but sometime near the end of 2013, something clicked and I realised that I was doing myself a huge injustice. The same principal applies to seeking external validation, trying to impress other writers, and comparing yourself to other writers – it’s bad for your writing health! I can’t speak for you (but I believe it’s the same), writing is instinctual (almost like a natural spring) – it can’t be plugged any longer – writing is no longer an option, it’s compulsory. We just have to keep on going and keep writing what flows out of us naturally. Loved this post! 🙂
    P.S: I’m adding a new widget to my site called “My Favourite Bloggers” – your site will be included.

    • It has been a big issue for me, especially after releasing Beggars. I got almost consumed by the thought of “what if the next book isn’t as good?” Like you said, it was a huge injustice to myself to think that way. Writing is basically my Default Setting, hehe.
      Thanks for the great comment! It’s good for me and for other writers and artists to know that they are not alone in such feelings. 🙂
      As always, write on!

      P.S. I’m flattered to make the list! 🙂

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