Yiannis Pelekanos is stepping out from the dark and admitting he’s scared.
So… I’ve not really written much over the last couple of months. As much as I want to call it an extended hiatus, its not really been by choice. Its been fear. Well, and procrastination. But mainly fear!
I don’t know whether it’s just me (feel free to tell me otherwise in the comments), but the second I hear someone praise something I’ve done, or I have to write an invoice for something I’m working on, I am gripped with anxiety and a level of fear most commonly seen by a child expecting something under their bed. I’m well aware that it’s immature and irrational, I should be proud of what I’ve done. If the client is happy, then I should be too. But it doesn’t work like that, admitting that my work is good, or that other people have to see it, somehow feels as though what I’ve produced will open up a gate to hell — which I sometimes wish would swallow me up.
In all honesty I think I know why I’m feeling like this. It was so easy when I was a ghost writer, quietly hiding behind someone else’s username, admittedly not getting any credit for my work, but in my mind, having less risk. An editor having the final word on whether my writings were palatable, and that was the end of it. I don’t think my fear has anything to do with what I’m creating. Nor who’s commissioned it. I just feel as though by virtue of having an audience, by actually producing something which will be used, read, or have an effect on the life of whoever is reading it, judgment will be passed. As though they’ll be bothered to research every facet of my existence to see whether my opinion on… cats (for example) is truly as definitive as I make out.
Maybe I’m being egotistical – actually I know I’m being egotistical, presuming that anyone would dive that deeply into my backstory. But it still doesn’t stop me being terrified that someone will see what I do, and say that it’s just not good enough. Not contrary to their views, or portraying something which they hold dearly in a different light, I love the idea that I can offer an approach which is a little different, but that they’ll think that what I do just isn’t worth read, or for me to have written.
I suppose it’s true with everything in life, by making something, and placing out in the big-wide-world, you’re giving it up to scrutiny, and at that point it’s no longer yours, it’s a platform for comment and sharing. It’s no longer your solely your work, its the start of something new, which is terrifying when you think about it.
In the clearest terms, posting something is like passing on a baton, and I’m constantly aware that there are so many opportunities to drop it. So that’s why I’ve not written much for the last few months, now I just have to fix it, or numb myself from feeling fear. I guess all I can do is write, and write, and write until, it slowly fades away… well unless you have any other ideas?
Video Credit: Hank Green – VlogBrothers