I'm afraid. I write every day and I'm scared shitless. I'm scared about everything. Will I be able to write a good book, a book good enough, good enough in my eyes to share it with the world? Will my readers like it? Will strangers who never heard about me like it? I'm afraid every day and I write every day, and I'm still afraid. It never goes away. My 10 year old son has started reading ROSEHEAD, my 2nd novel, and I have yet to publish it on other sites besides Amazon, like I promised, and put up a free ebook file on my site, like I promised, and when my son tells me that this book is the best he has read all year, I'm afraid again. I'm afraid he tells me that because I'm his mom and he loves me and just wants to say nice things to me. I asked him. I asked, would you have said it about this book if it wasn't mine? He said, yes. Still, I'm afraid. He recommended it to his friend in school, and his mom told me today that he is reading it and enjoying it, and my son told me that he said his friend likes it. A LOT. Still, I'm afraid. I want to ask, are you sure? Really? REALLY???
I'm afraid I'm not writing fast enough, not doing things fast enough. Not learning to write better fast enough. Not reading enough. I'm afraid I won't have enough time this weekend to post ROSEHEAD everywhere. Like I promised. I will try. But I'm afraid. I'm afraid to write this book I'm writing right now, IRKADURA, because I have to go back to those times when I was a teenager, pregnant, not knowing where I would live, what I would do with my life, with my baby, how I will raise my baby. It was scary. I was scared. I was scared shitless. And now I have to go into my book every day and reexperience this terrible fear, again, doubled this time. Because I'm scared about people not liking it, telling me it sucks, telling me it's awful. I'm afraid.
I'm afraid because I'm running out of money soon. 3 months worth of money left in my account, since I'm giving my books away for free. I plan to raise money via Kickstarter, but I'm afraid for some reason I won't be able to, for some reason I will fail. This fear paralyzes me every day, and every day I have to try and get rid of it and keep going forward, keep writing, keep creating, no matter what. I can't not to, not anymore. I used to not be able to. I used to be paralyzed to the point where I couldn't make art, I wouldn't allow myself. Because. Because I was abused growing up, and this is the price I paid, this constant fear of everything, EVERYTHING, constant wish to please all people, everyone, constant fear I have somehow hurt someone. This fear used to kill me. Not anymore. I figured out what held me back, I went public about it, and it saved me, because I wanted to commit suicide and in its most dark hour I realized what the fuck I was doing and I stopped. I haven't shed this fear, it will never go away, but I create now DESPITE this fear. And so can you.
FEAR IS PART OF CREATION.
We are all afraid, of everything. It's one of the primal instincts we've been given, along with desire to love. All the shit that happens to us, all the shit that we do to each other, is out of fear. War. Out of fear. Rape, abuse. Out of fear. It's all fear. Some of us haven't found a way to channel it into making art, creating. Some of us destroy. Destroying makes us feel like we are in control, but it's fake. Being an artist takes more guts than being a criminal. You show to the whole world that yes, you are afraid, and yet you still go forward about fulfilling your dream. You share yourself, just as you are. It's easier to use violence and make others wrong for your pain, lay the blame. It's harder to say, hey, yes, I have a lot of pain, I've been hurt, but I forgive, and here, here is my love, take it. I give it to you. Those people who hurt you, they need your love especially, because they don't believe they are lovable, and that's hard. It's hard, very hard. But the fact is, they're afraid of you. They bite you first, because they've been bitten so many times. And that is where art comes in. With art, we can share ourselves with each other, crossing the boundaries of fear.
I have read a beautiful blog post by Amanda Palmer today (I love her to death, of course) on reaching 1 million followers on twitter, and here is a little quote for you:
"WE'RE ALL SCARED SHITLESS OF EACH OTHER."
And that's true. That's the big stopper. But think about it. If you won't write, you won't be able to share yourself the way you want to, and that will make you sad, and depressed, and you will push it deep down, and continue with your life, of course. Because, hey, nobody is standing with the knife to your throat, right? The doctor didn't tell you you have cancer, so all good. But the need is there, the need to share. We all want it. We want to be loved, to be recognized, to reach out, to connect, and, as writers, we want to be read.
But the beauty of writing is in the process.
While you write, you're happy as a clam. You're back to being a kid, being spontaneous, back to you BEFORE you had the fear, BEFORE somebody told you that your writing sucks, BEFORE you read something genius, compared it to your wiring and thought, why the fuck am I trying, there is no use trying, fuck it, I suck. BEFORE any of that, you simply wanted to do it. And this is where I'm at. I battle between the adult and the kid.
And why, why am I telling you this. Because that is part of being an artist, being able to share myself with you, unreservedly, no matter what. And fear has been on my mind a lot lately, like, a lot. And it drives me nuts, it slowed down my writing, and I hate it. I still move forward, but it's a struggle. I don't know what will happen in 3 months. Will I have to go look for a job? My beloved boyfriend offered to help (I love him so much), said he'll support me, for us to scrape by, but it's really not enough for both of us, his money, and for the kids. So what will happen? I don't know, but I will create, I will write every day like mad, and then we will see.
I WILL SHARE MYSELF WITH YOU UNTIL I CAN'T. TAKE IT. TAKE MY ART.
I will do crazy things like these (and I was so afraid to be myself, to do this before, compare my older videos with this one):
This is what I do before I start writing, I dance, alone, in my room, in front of the mirror. Crazy? Maybe. But I feel like a kid when I do it, and I love it. LOVE IT. And I'm still scared. I uploaded this video on a whim, to share, and then I got scared. OMG, will people think I'm crazy? Will they think I'm nuts? What will they do?
So, you see, I'm plenty scared. Every day. Right now I will rush to post ROSEHEAD everywhere, and I'm still scared. Will I have enough time to post it everywhere? Will I? I promised. Will the day stretch long enough? I'm afraid to leave it priced at $2.99 on Amazon. What will people think? Will they come to my blog and find the free version? Or will they yell at me and tell me I'm full of shit because I say I give my books away for free but it's not free on Amazon and they can't find it on my site? See, it's a lot of irrational fear, but it's there. Every day, it's there.
Even this blog post, all my posts. Most of the time I get comments, but sometimes I don't, and it makes me wonder. Do I write into a void? Is this stuff I write even helpful to people? TO YOU? What can I do better? How can I give myself away better to you, to help you? You see...
I don't care about money. Really, I don't. As long as I have some place to live, some clothes, food, my laptop and phone, so I can share my epiphanies with you, stay connected with you, on Twitter, here, on Facebook, wherever else online, in person, I don't need anything else. As long as I can write and read and connect with people every day, I'm happy.
BUT FUCK!!! FOOD COSTS MONEY!!!
So what will I do? I will keep sharing myself and will trust in community. In you, in friends, in readers, in everyone. If I fall, will you catch me?
I don't care about getting famous.
I don't care about selling millions of books. It's not why I write.
I don't even care if anyone reads my books (yes, yes, I do care, but in a sense, I get more pleasure out of writing them, while I'm inside the writing process, nothing matters, but of course, I get all happy when people tell me they DO read my books, they DO love them, I bloom.)
I only care about one thing.
BEING ABLE TO CONTINUE WRITING EVERY DAY.
TO KEEP GIVING MYSELF AWAY, TO YOU. MY ART. EVERYTHING.
So there you have it. I bared my soul for you, in the hopes that it will get you moving, if you were afraid yourself. I'm afraid too. Let's be afraid together and still create art. Let's catch each other when we fall, let's love each other. That's al really that matters.
(I'm even afraid to publish this post!)
Much love to you. XOXO