Have you ever heard a story where a hermetic author wanders off to an isolated cabin in the woods for months–or years!–before finally emerging with a flawless manuscript? Have you ever thought about that story and mentally evaluated it against your own draft?
If so, you might have felt the deep fear of failure that can result from comparing our work to others who are farther along their writing journey.
Comparing our own work to an award-winning piece of literature may feel unfair, or even cruel. Our thoughts can be troublesome, leading to worries about whether or not anybody else would enjoy the work in the same way we do.
So what can we do about it?
If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.Anatole France
Nobody said that writing is easy. Some authors struggle with writer’s block. Others suffer from a deep perfectionism that can be paralyzing.
So how do we get past the uncertainty and fear of rejection? Is there a way to find joy in an activity that can feel so scary sometimes?
Write for yourself
Writing tends to be a solitary activity. You, as the author, will spend much more time with your writing than anybody else.
One of the best ways to break through the ice-cold grip of self-criticism is to remember who you’re writing for.
You don’t want to disappoint anybody, but you know, you lose your voice by trying to please everyone.Diego Luna
If you love writing–and hopefully you do!–then focus on your own passion for writing. Write for yourself. Write the story that drives you to be a writer in the first place.
Your story is going to have some remarkable characters when you’re finished. If they’re not remarkable yet, they need your guidance to get there. Sounds like a fun journey to me! And since you, as the author, are the one guiding them to greatness, you’ll be the only one who gets to experience their growth in this way.
Read your story in its current form, and figure out if there something missing. Not something that you think your readers will miss, but something that you miss. Did you find something? Since this is your creation, you can add it! You can always edit later, if you want to, as part of the writing process.
For now, just for the moment, put aside the dreams where you’re standing on stage receiving yet another award as crowds scream your name. Those days may or may not come. What can be more helpful to think about it whether or not you’d be happy taking the journey necessary to get you there.
You deserve to remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place.
You, the author, have the power to create the perfect story for you, the reader.
Learn to love the process. Don’t think about the other readers who may or may not fall in love with your art. That’s up to them, and is largely out of your control, so it’s not worth worrying about. Write for yourself. Try to focus on the joy that led you to writing in the first place. If you write a story that you love, you’ll definitely find others who feel the same way.
Focus on the process and learn to love the craft of writing. If you do, you’ll always have a reader who’ll love your work just the way it is.