At a recent Indie Authors meeting we were discussing with a group of first time authors about publishing our books and building our audience. What surprised me was how many of them had not told their friends and family that they had even written a book.
We had several writers who were close to publishing their books and now wondering how they would find the courage to tell their nearest and dearest about their great achievement. These writers didn’t seem to worry quite so much about the general public reviewing their books, but they were scared of what reaction they would get from people who knew them.
The discussion then changed to one about vulnerability. Our writers felt vulnerable as they were opening up a side of themselves that they had kept hidden. Fear of what their friends would think about their writing had created emotional turmoil and a lot of procrastination. Maybe you have been there too?
Our mindset creates our reality and the stories we tell ourselves can either help or hinder. This group of writers were telling themselves all sorts of scary stories – “my friends will think I’m different”; “they won’t like me when they read this”; “what if they think it’s terrible”; “they don’t know about this side of me – they’ll think I’m weird!”
Their vulnerability was so close to the surface I could see it. We can all feel vulnerable – it’s when we open up our hearts, minds and voices to others with no guarantee that it will go well. We take chances every day – to ask for help; to ask someone out on a date; to say I love you; to apply for a job; to create a business or to write a book!
Creative people share their vulnerability with the world, whether you write, paint, design, build or make music you are sharing what is inside of you. It’s your baby that you are sharing and you hope that people won’t say it’s ugly! But what if it’s beautiful? What if the world loves your book?
Fear can keep us stuck in a small place. Fear of success can be as strong as the fear of failure. Is your fear of being vulnerable stopping you from letting go of your book? Are you afraid of it not being perfect so keep changing and editing it?
In times of fear we could all do with someone to hold our hand and tell us it will be ok. To encourage us to be brave and take a leap of faith. To remind us that the other side of fear is joy. This is a role that I play with our authors as they progress along the path to publication; but maybe this group would also find that their friends would do that too.
Sharing the thoughts and feelings with the group loosened their power. The writers realised that they were not alone. They also explored that they could write another version of their mind story – “what if they love it”; “what if they have secretly wanted to write too and never had the courage to start”; “what if they are so proud of me”; “what if they want to help share my book”; “what if …”
If you are feeling fear about publishing your book, embrace your vulnerability and be brave – you could experience your own magic and help others too.