Break the status quo before it breaks you.
I’m not sure what’s worse, the dread before hitting that button for fear of being exposed as someone seeking attention or approval; or the realization that there is something wrong in what I just sent out to the world for all to see and judge. Or, the feeling when I let it slip and nothing ever does make it out of the drafts folder. It’s the same tired old narration going through my mind. Same old stories; equally bothersome but for different reasons.
The creation, the preparation, and the declaration.
So here is a creation. Let’s jump into the middle of that process. Lets just for arguments sake say it’s a short work of fiction. It could be anything really; in my own case it can be blog, fiction, music, or any combination of those. But in this blog let’s say it’s a great funny story about a family of woodchucks finding an orphaned porky-pine they name Spike.
(Ah, a childrens story. Now we’re getting somewhere even if we’re completely sidetracked. Making a U-turn right here gets us back to this blog. . )
Okay, the story is done. It has been lovingly crafted, edited, picked at and rewritten multiple times. It is finally perfect. Noone has been allowed to read it. Not even a mother, brother, best friend. Nope. It’s too personal. That story is special. It’s so close to the heart. There are so many hours of frustration and creative bliss poured into that family of woodchucks. . So noone has been allowed to view the miracle of Spike.
Because once it leaves the safety of the harddrive and word processor; It won’t be the same. It will never be the same again.
Enter submission anxiety disorder.
This is the point where a decision needs to be made and different people view this in vastly different ways. Today, I’m turning to those who can relate to what I’ve just described. It is most likely someone commonly called an introvert. In the spectrum of introvert I suppose it can be someone that is simply shy, with low self confidence, maybe someone with difficulties dealing with people in general. A loner perhaps. Call it what you will. I’m all of those myself. You know better than I do who you are. I try not to generalize and clump all of us under one label. This is a tricky territory to walk so , bare with me. 🙂
To publish or not to publish.
Now, that is the question. Publishing is easy so that’s not really a problem. A free blog, Facebook, selfhosted website, wordpress.com… you name it. The question is if it’s worth the anxiety, the fear of rejection, the potential negative critique, the internet trolls.
Is it really worth all that crap just to let others read that stupid little story. There are millions of books online and they are all written by better writers and all those books are worth reading by someone, or they wouldn’t have been published. Right?
And who would care shit about Spike anyways. What’s the point.
Isn’t that a sad recital? What a bloody waste.
Because people do want to read what you write. People do want to know your thoughts, hear your talent, and I would say that the worst thing that can happen is that nothing happens.
It is however what that voice in the back of the mind keeps saying and it is very convincing. And whether it is lacking confidence or true support from family and friends that in the end makes the potential future author leave things as they are, chances are drastically higher that the introvert is the one choosing not to push that button.
Status quo is comfortable.
But that’s not where we want to be. Status quo means that nothing changes.* Nothing is moving forward. Lessons are not only not learne; they are not taught to start with. There is no gain without some risk and as far as the act of revealing Spike to the world goes. It can be very scary. But I’ll tell you what;
Status quo will kill Spike and his family!
So, get over it. Push that button. And the next one, and the next one. When you’ve pushed that publish button a couple hundred times and exposed yourself and your creations to the world; it will be a little bit less scary. But you gained friends, knowledge, confidence, a network, a presence. So push that bloody button and break out of the status quo. Spike deserves his audience. And so do you.
After the fact anxiety disorder.
It will come. If you are the type that found it physically hard to push the button. (You did push it didn’t you?) Your heartbeat quickened, your hands started sweating, stomach clenched. You were a bit out of it. Exhilirated and devestated all at once. Out of your comfort zone like a fish on dry land. You clicked it. You published. If your case is severe, your thoughts go around and around and it may sound something like this:
Oh my god. I did it. Damn it. why? I didn’t have to. I finally did it! I could have made it better first. Who’s going to read it. Will there be feedback? should I take it down before anyone reads it? I should! No, I can’t now. I’m not an author, not a blogger, not experienced. That’s stupid. I shouldn’t… I have to check to see if there’s comments. should I tweet that? Is that presumptious, Arrogant? But I want to know. But what if they don’t like it? It’s stupid. i should have read it one more time before. I should have, could have, would have. Wish I hadn’t.
Sigh! Tiring isn’t it?
The bad news is that it will happen again. If you are like me; it will happen for another couple thousand times. Hopefully you are not quite like me.
The good news is; after just a few outbreaks like this it does get better. It gets a little bit easier to handle.
A typo will not end the world as you know it!
Trust me, it’s not going to happen. A mistake will not kill you, torture your pets, your kitten, or get you locked up by the Internet maffia. So, get over it. If you find a mistake after the fact, do correct it. That’s just good form. Look at it this way: If you find a blog or a story with a mistake of some sort. Do you really think less of that person? How much do you truly care about the level of perfection of that thing you just read. Truth is; if it doesn’t interest you; you will simply click onto something else and you won’t give it a second thought. Why would anyone think of your published work any differently? If someone likes it, they will hopefully remember you, share your story, and leave you a comment. You win! They win! It is a true win win situation.
There will be mistakes made. You can trust me on that too. I’ve made all of them. I’m still here, my world is still functioning. Think instead:
I did it! and I’m going to do it again.
Yes, you did, and you will.
And now, since I am an attention junkie, I want to talk about me for a moment. 😀
Heh. This brings me to the dilemma. I am the kind of introvert that loves and loathes attention in equal measure. Over the years I have come to accept myself and how my brain works. I have published stuff online for over a decade now and I have never become completely comfortable with it. I started out with uploading music on mp3.com. That just shows how old I am. lol.
I think those first few clicks on the submit button paved my path up until this day. I was terrifyed. The anxiety hit the roof. But I was exhilirated and so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. What happened was that I got instant feedback. And it was all good. I was lucky. If I had been ignored, rejected, flamed, or put down in any other way; I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be writing this today. I became an attention junkie and I have been fighting it since then.
Here was the thing back then:
I want to bee seen and heard because I think I might have something worth someones time.
I wanted to be looked at but not really seen
I wanted to be understood but not really communicating.
I wanted nice feedback but not be critiqued.
I wanted everything to be perfect but was too hurried and anxious to make it so.
I wanted attention and recognition but was too ashamed to admit it
I wanted the answers but couldn’t ask questions.
I love nice feedback and I even dig critique because it all teaches me something.
I want everything to be perfect but it’s okay if it’s not.
I want recognition and attention and I’m happy to admit it.
I ask questions even when they make me feel like an idiot.
It’s all good!< Just go for it.
It is what it is. I’m afraid of many things but that is not going to stop me from trying. My creations are not everyones cup of tea and even if I would want them to be; I can’t please everyone.
I will not let Spike turn to dust and sad memories in a drawer anymore. I’m letting Spike out.
Just as I’ve let
Chrissy out to play,
Kate and David, Sky, Kristina, That guy in
A gal eerie of desire who I can’t remember the name of,
Marcy, Denny and all the others. I have decided not to trash my online presence again. Finally I’m at the point where I can say:
It truly is all good. Scary or not, I will do what I love, no matter what!
And I hope you do too.
And now that I’ve gotten that out of my system; Just push that button will ya?
It’s scary, but it will be okay. Whether it’s starting a blog, showing off your music, telling the world online or offline what you can do, it’s the best thing you can ever do. There may not be an undo button anywhere, but more importantly; there is no Redo button when there was no Do being done to begin with.
So if you could wrap your head around that sentence; Go ahead! Push that button.
Leave your comments. What’s your story?
Jenny K Brennan
Ontario Canada 2014
*”Status quo” is a Latin phrase
meaning the existing state of affairs.