I am on a stage. A bright lines shines on me from afar and blinds me. I squint and turn my head slightly to see hundreds of people in an audience staring at me. Each and every one of them has their mouths open in a shocked expression. I look down and my heart stops.
I am naked.
Ahhh, the “naked on a stage” dream. I’m sure many of us have experienced it. I know that I have. As writers, I feel that we have that same vulnerability when we share our writing. It is that moment of nakedness where we are in our simplest and most purest form. We are able to put into writing our innermost thoughts and emotions. We may fear the judgment of our readers or maybe we fear disappointing them. Whatever the reason, every writer at one moment or another has feared.
Why do we do this? Why are we so anxious to share our thoughts with others as writers, but yet so scared to do so? I was responding to a fellow blogger today regarding writing as a child and I had an epiphany. When I was a young girl, possibly twelve or thirteen, I loved to write. I would write stories in my notebook and even began to write a “novel”. From what I remember, I got pretty far in it. One day, I took my journal over to my best friend’s house for a sleepover. Unknowingly to me, I forgot my journal at her house. Several weeks later, my friend called me and in our conversation, she casually mentioned that she found my journal and that she and her friend were reading my story. She said it in a judgmental way and I was mortified. That moment was one of my “naked on stage” moments as a young writer.
I never thought about it until today, but that was the last time that I wrote for enjoyment. Of course I wrote academic writing in school and in college, but I only began writing for enjoyment and others to read a few months ago.
Is it possible that that experience how long ago has scarred me unknowingly for all of these years? I’m sure that self-doubt and lack of self-esteem in general has added to the fears, but this may have as well.
What are your fears as a writer? Why do you have them or what caused them? I’d love to hear from you!