When I was a child I was told by someone that writing was a useless pursuit and that you never get anywhere doing it. You see I used to like having family read my stories. And then after that I felt embarrassed by them. Called it a hobby I did. Still, do call it that.
So as I grew up I just wrote for myself. I had a strong fear of rejection. Up until high school when I was in a visual communications class creating images to one of my short stories. The teacher was quite impressed by it. So then as an alternate class to fill a spare, I created a creative writing class with an English teacher and got feedback on my work. And yet, still to this day I do not let anyone read my work because I know they are not interested, would not provide valuable feedback and I fear the only response I would get would be ‘meh it was good.’
I once had a boyfriend in University that I finally let read some of my work and he loved it (as I suppose is his role). He was very supportive of my writing though and literally dragged me to the local Writers Guild to sit with other writers and talk about what we were writing and read a piece. I really enjoyed the experience but was so very timid about my writing and had a fear of public speaking along with a sort of embarrassment that my work might be substandard. I never returned although it would have been worth it to continue. Pity they don’t have that sort of thing here.
Fact is I have always had a fear of failure but it is more pronounced with art. From something that came from the depths of Me. But I have also had a fear of success. When I achieved great marks, for example, I always felt I didn’t deserve them and what if I didn’t maintain that? So what if you write an awesome book and it does awesome things… and you cannot follow it with another awesome book?
What if people never see what you wrote like you did when you wrote it? What if the essence of it fails to shine through? What if it fails is because it is utter crap. I admit some of my early novels are not the greatest.
We sort of have to write for ourselves first. The story and the craft of that story are for us. That is something we can get into. And likely when we send it out into the world some people will not like it. Others will love it. Others will be in the middle about it. We have no control how people react to what we put out there. Just like no one has control over how I react to a book I read. The ones who write reviews tend to be the ones with a stronger opinion one way or the other. I think once it is out in the world it belongs to the readers. I should not think or worry about how it will be taken because it isn’t mine anymore… it is theirs to take and digest and consume as they will. We only have control over the writing process itself and we should then release this anxiety when we put the book out there. I would like to think it is as easy as that but we are a messed up bunch of anxiety and angst-filled souls for sure.