Your Dreams Can’t Happen if You Don’t Let Others See You
You might think no one cares about your work.
I think most of us start out believing that, no matter what creative pursuit we’re involved in.
I can only speak from a writer’s perspective, but I believe this is why it takes most people so long to actually begin whatever it is they’re called to do.
We’re afraid to act like the thing we wish to become, because we’re told before we even start that we won’t make it. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see any kind of success; and therefore, too risky, they tell us.
We are constantly bombarded with stories about the struggling artist, or the writer who labours all their life, living a lonely existence and life of poverty, only to get — nowhere.
Their whole life is spent in a cycle of barely getting by, and they never get to reap any of the benefits of their hard work and decades of dedication to some misunderstood endeavour.
My Belief is Shattered
I started out believing this narrative, too. It’s hard not to.
Even some of the enormously successful writers on Medium had started to suck me down the rabbit hole of doubt and competition just by telling their own struggle stories.
And then, a light shining in the dark:
I see an article entitled, “It’s Not Hard to Become a Writer.”
I was intrigued. Could it be true?
Among other encouraging points, author Shawn Forno had this to say:
“You can be a working writer. You just have to decide what kind of writer you want to be and announce it to the world. People will listen (and they’ll even pay you for it).”
Now this sounds more like it! I thought.
Tell People What You’re Doing
I think the key point there is to announce it to the world.
As scary as this can seem at first, it’s the only way to move in the direction of your dreams.
I can write all I want, but if I never share it with anyone, I can’t help them in the ways I dream of.
If I continue to keep my writing a secret, then I don’t have the chance to inspire, encourage, or motivate others to follow their dreams and live better lives through the things I’m passionate about — personal growth and learning.
Many artists, writers, and entrepreneurs have talked about the importance of sharing your message with the world, and that’s why I’ve started to practice in public.
And guess what?
It’s not as scary as I thought it would be.
In fact, it’s actually kind of fun!
Whether people respond to it or not, I get satisfaction from knowing that something I created is out there in the world, and could at some point help someone in some way. That part feels good.
You never know how something you write will land for somebody else — but the trick is not to think about that.
Why it’s Great if Nobody Cares
According to Forno, the secret to becoming a professional writer is understanding that no one cares what you do.
They just don’t care.
They care about their own lives. They’re busy.
Rather than being a pin to your balloon animal, this can be a really freeing way to approach your writing — or any creative work you do — if you are able to see why.
If no one’s watching you like a hawk and judging your every move (and word) like you think they are, then you can just be you. You can do what you like, and share what you’re working on for the fun of it.
You can let others know that you wrote something, and invite them to check it out if they like. That’s all it is — an invitation.
Whether they love it, hate it, or totally ignore it is up to them; and this leaves you free to take action.
Let People See You
Forno’s advice is simple:
“Let go of your ego, let go of your fear of ‘making it’ or producing great work, and just start writing. Find a client tomorrow and write a terrible blog post. You’ll learn something from it, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a better writer and earning more.”
This part of becoming a writer is really fun, I have to admit.
Searching for publications or magazines I can submit to is like looking through a store’s Christmas catalogue and circling all the things that excite me.
The things I circle are reflections of me: my tastes, my style, my interests and desires.
I can be any kind of writer I want to be; I just have to find where I belong.
Which places are the right homes for my writing? Where does my voice fit? What topics am I best suited for, and what do I love learning and thinking about most?
All of the answers to these questions are discovered through trial and error, and honed through experience.
Creating our dreams starts with putting ourselves out there and letting our work (and our souls) be seen.