I just posted an article here that I’d been somehow withholding since June. I agonized over it, showed it to people I trusted, and got a little editing help from the talented Emily Hutta and design help from the talented Anat Rodan. Meanwhile, it sat there, with the ideas it contains languishing on my computer, while I worried and fretted and procrastinated.
Why? Pure fear.
What if I sounded stupid in public? (Wouldn’t be the first time.) What if people didn’t agree with what I was saying? (Ooooh. I’m sure everyone needs to agree with me all the time, right?) What if there’s a typo? (Oh, please.)
This obsession with perfection drives us to create good work. But it also stops us from doing the same thing.
As the esteemed Seth Godin has pointed out repeatedly, there’s no such thing as writer’s block. We invented it to protect ourselves from looking foolish and making mistakes in public. To hide behind. And all it does is make us more nervous, anxious and unproductive. Ever heard of Plumber’s Block? How about Cashier’s Block? No? So why Writer’s Block? Because we think what we share has to be Important. It’s a reflection of Who We Are.
And who are we? Silly. Vain. Insecure. That’s who.
But the more we write, the better we get. The more we write, the more chance we’ll say something people care about. The more we share of ourselves, the more connections we create, the more we’ll affect people and find those who like what we’re creating. And who are wiling to forgive our less-than-perfect output because they see our humanity.
So, in case you share the same resistance I have, maybe it helps to put it into to perspective. And write about it.