Anxiety: A True Enemy of the Writer

As you know and will probably get sick of hearing about, I have started a Kickstarter to raise funds for furthering my writing (insert cheap plug here).  What I didn’t mention about it was that it took a tremendous amount of nerve to actually click the ‘Start campaign’ button.  You might think that strange.  After all, in essence, Kickstarter is a no-risk venture, the worst that can happen is you don’t make your goal and don’t make any money.

The thing is, there IS a risk, a very big one: a risk to my ego, my sense of self-worth.  That may sound like the start of a pity party, but consider that, for a serious author, their writing is drawn from themselves.  It’s a tapestry woven from heartstrings and bits of our souls.  In essence, an author puts themselves on the line whenever they write and present it forth for the public.  If the masses recoil in horror or, perhaps worse, ignore the works they see, what message does that send to the author?  In essence, it is a judgement on the worth of the author and the work they have poured themselves into.

Now, we come to the title of this piece.  Anxiety, fear of the future, can be a crippling roadblock to a writer.  The moment a writer (or any artist really) puts their work out for the public to see, they put their souls on display.  It is understandable why so many people dabble in writing but never become more than that.  It’s not just the financial risks (though there are plenty of those) or any social stigma; there is the very real fear of rejection of that very real part of you by others.  That anxiety can be so crippling that you never hit that ‘Publish’ button or the ‘Start campaign’ one.  Your finger creeps back and you tell yourself that you just can’t do it.

All we can do as writers, creators, and readers is to encourage us to try.  We have to support each other to fight through the anxiety, to pick ourselves up after every failed attempt, and keep going.  Every rejection letter, every abrasive comment, every blank look from those who just don’t care, those are the slings and arrows we have to help each other to get past.  Fear can be overcome.  We do it every time we put pen to paper to write a new first chapter or scribe the first line of a play or the opening stanza of a poem.  Let’s not stop now.