The Biggest Hurdle
I'm sure you're familiar with track-and-field. One of the most popular races in the competition is the hurdles. This is perhaps the riskiest race in the entire event, being that one wrong move can result in a deadly fall. Kind of reminds us of life - the right mistake can be lethal. The wrong relationship, the wrong words, speaking at the wrong time, even doing the right thing at the wrong time can yield undesirable results that will nag you for the rest of your life. This is why most people never attempt to follow their dreams, and would prefer to remain on the shore of mediocrity throughout the duration of their lives. Who wants to fail?
We ask ourselves those exact words sometimes when it comes to our literary endeavors. Before we can even write, we sometimes ask ourselves, "Who's going to read my work? Who'll take me seriously?" We tend to minimize our importance and exalt everyone else as if they're gods and we're ants languishing beneath their heavy feet.
The main hurdle that we must overcome in order to accomplish our writing goals is that of our own self-sabotaging talk.
I remember when I competed in my first creative writing contest; it was being put on by a college. At the time, I was in high school. My teacher had to encourage me to put aside my fear and submit my poem and short story. I was paralyzed with fear. I'd later come to understand why fear is so debilitating in our lives - the trauma of rejection can cause pain, physical pain. We fear putting ourselves out there because we don't want to experience the trauma of rejection again. We spend our lives avoiding it.
That's all the more reason you should take a chance on yourself and share your writing with the world.
That day, the teacher asked me, "What's the worse that could happen? If you win or place, good; if you don't, oh well - you didn't lose anything."
'Yeah, I didn't lose anything...but my ego' I thought. Still, I submitted my poem and short story, thinking it was going to bomb. I was pleasantly surprised when my poem placed 2nd and my short story placed 3rd. This became the pattern throughout my writing life: receive the opportunity to share my gift, face the hurdle of self-doubt, leap over my self-sabotaging thoughts and do it anyway, then be pleasantly surprised at how well I did.
You'll never know how good your book will do until you write it. You'll never know what others think about your work until you share it. You'll never know how successful your work can become if you never produce and promote it. Don't sabotage your success by stopping at the biggest hurdle of all: self-doubt. Leap over it and take a chance. You'll be pleasantly surprised.