Have you always had an urge to write?
I certainly have. But I don’t have an active blog. Instead, my Evernote is littered with sad half-finished blog posts that have consumed countless hours of my life. I am confident when I start to write — but then can never get happy enough with my work to actually publish it.
The fear of public speaking is widely documented.
In fact, it’s considered to be the number one fear: On average, individuals are more afraid to speak in public than they are to die.
And even though far less discussed — the fear of public writing is very real.
Most writers you’ll ask have experienced it — and even the very experienced ones often times still struggle with it.
With the emergence of the internet, social media, and platforms like Medium — it has never been as prevalent as it is today. Everyone has access to public writing, right at their fingertips.
It is not a question of avoidance of the fear…but how you deal with the inevitable existence of it.
We all have written work to point to that has changed the course of our life, has enlightened us, made our life so much better. It is a shame, knowing that some writing will never come into existence because of this fear — both harming potential readers and their writers…
Why does the fear of public writing (or speaking) even exist?
It all comes down to the desire to be liked.
This is a simplification, and we can argue as much as we want that we do not care if we are liked or not…but let’s face it: The desire to be liked is part of being human and has evolutionary reasons. Chances of survival as homo sapiens are higher when we have support of others — and the act of publicly writing exposes us, makes us vulnerable to judgment.
So how do we outsmart our basic instincts…and write?
5 public writing guidelines that could change the course of your life (they have changed mine):
#1 — First and foremost, realize your “why” for writing. Yes, hiding under a rock may lead to less judgment — but also leads to: A life of missed opportunities…and a life of regrets.
#2 — Accept: No matter what you do — a portion of people won’t like you.You’re just less aware of it if you’re not in the public eye. And it’s not personal. People are inherently different. As Robert Kiyosaki puts it, no matter what you do: 1/3 of people will love you, 1/3 will hate you, 1/3 won’t care.
#3 — In fact: You’re lucky if people don’t like you. If you were a book, you’d be much better off getting a mix of 5 and zero stars, than only getting 3-star ratings.
And let’s take Howard Stern as an example: The average fan listens to his show for an hour and twenty minutes while the average hater listens for a full two hours. Oh, and btw, he signed a $500m deal with Sirius in 2004. Which would not have been possible without his haters.
#4 — Whatever you do: Do NOT aim at perfection — just get your work out there…we can only get better with practice. And the more we try to perfect, the less authentic and engaging our work is (not to mention the less enjoyable the process of writing). The piece you are reading right now is far from perfect…but I now allow myself to be grateful for its mere existence.
#5 — Lastly: If you realize that the ONLY reason for you to not do something, is out of fear of getting judged — take a deep breath and gently tell yourself: F*ck it, just do it.
James Clear truly nails it on the head “Too many people die with their best ideas inside them.”
That’s a way worse alternative than running the risk of finding out the inevitable: Yes, some people do not like you. They will never like you.
And that, is perfectly fine.
Now go write.
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