As your authentic voice emerges publicly, you will experience
a range of emotions and, ultimately, new sources of strength.
I’ve struggled writing this week’s blog because other parts of my life have demanded all of my emotional energy recently—most notably, a paralyzing anxiety about the end of the year. More to the point, I started my own consulting company at the beginning of 2017; as such, the end of the calendar year raises the specter that my clients may not renew their contracts in 2018.
Simply put, I’m terrified of the unknown, of rejection, of having to start all over again. It’s an exhausting, consuming angst. So, what does any logical, mature professional do? Run for the hills. I have retreated back into myself, started making plans to close my company down, and find a path back to corporate servitude. (All while my clients, by the way, continue to call me with new projects and pay their monthly retainer fees.)
Vulnerability reigns supreme.
This psychological need to cocoon ourselves is a very natural reaction when others start seeing our work in a new, public way. Putting ourselves out there, sharing our work—whether via our writing or our other professional and personal goals—is hard. We lose our anonymity and, as a result, feel like we have much more to lose than when we just kept our ideas to ourselves. As such, we feel raw, insecure, and uncomfortable. Not much fun, is it?
Inspiration from Teddy Roosevelt helps.
During this important step of publicly testing and, in turn, verifying your creative authenticity, you will find new allegiances and supporters (like those of us at Around the Writer’s Table!) who will embrace your bravery. Bravery, you say? This self-flagellation doesn’t feel courageous or strong. It’s crazy-making; it makes me feel like I need to scrap everything I’ve ever done and start over. . . .
Ahh, but you see, fighting through the self-doubt and taking ownership of where you are, understanding where you need to go, and still expressing yourself publicly and authentically is the victory. Teddy Roosevelt understood this:
The credit belongs . . . to the man [or woman!] who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; . . . who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, . . . and who, at the worst, if he fails, . . . at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls . . . who know neither victory nor defeat.
Stay in the arena.
So, take a deep breath and manage your mind and emotions. You are not alone—friends (both old and new, and some unexpected), critique groups, your writing coach or editor, blogs, and writers’ organizations will support you, especially during these terrifying moments of verifying, testing, and owning your journey.
By continuing to forge ahead and fully embrace your new public identity as an author and creator, you will be able to fully integrate all parts of your life into mastering your craft. You will no longer have to compartmentalize your creative spirit or wear a mask to satiate others’ expectations of who you should be.
At this stage, you will experience a deeper evolution towards authenticity—and will spread your wings as you emerge from your cocoon. This stage is powerful and will lead to greater productivity, inspiration, and dedication. Enjoy this moment as you start to explore your full potential as an author in the public eye.