Saturday, June 11, 2011

What Are We So Afraid Of?

Afraid? (Said in Leia's totally unconvincing, "No, I'm not afraid, you jerk, I'm fine!" tone)

Yes, afraid. What are we so afraid of when it comes to posting our stories? We go to an awful lot of trouble to protect our anonymity and hide our stories from people we know in real life, as evidenced by many prior posts. And yet if you're anything like me, and I suspect you are on some level, you can actually feel the tension in your body as you await response on something you've published. I'm feeling it right now as I just published a little story I wrote months ago but didn't do anything with and finally decided to just go ahead and put it up there.

It makes no rational sense that we should be so nervous about what total strangers think of our stories, and yet we are anyway. We let random people on the internet judge us and we allow that judgment to affect us personally. I think it is fear of this judgment that makes so many people afraid to post in the first place.

Why should we care? It's funny, because honestly, in real life I don't really care what people think. I mean, I try to be a generally good person and be nice to everyone and all of that, but I don't really care if people don't think my clothing choices are any good or if they think I should put more effort into having an actual hair style. This is from people who can actually see me and know me. And yet, somehow, if I find out someone didn't like what I wrote, it hurts. Or if nobody says anything good at all, that tends to hurt, too. I can't even begin to describe how the level of tension goes up when you post a scene of an intimate nature and sit back and await the possible feedback.

If I were to publish an actual book under my actual name, then it would make sense to me to be afraid and nervous as I sat back and awaited the criticism. Especially since in that case it seems like it is people's jobs to point out what is wrong with anything written rather than what is right. That's why they call them critics. But here on the internet, where you people simply know me as Zyra and I'd probably never run into you in real life, it still seems almost just as scary.

Here's the thing: It shouldn't! Stop feeling that way! Go ahead and put your stuff out there and don't take things so personally. All of this should be considered a learning experience, and in the end, it's really all just supposed to be for fun so there shouldn't be this anxiety involved. You're always going to have people who like your stuff and people who maybe don't. But in this case, the ones who do tend to be the more vocal ones, so there's really nothing to be afraid of.

Please note that I am a hypocrite when it comes to a lot of the above statements. Logically, I know that I shouldn't worry so much about what people think. But I just think as a writer, if you actually care about what you're writing and want it to be good, then that sort of feeling is pretty much inevitable. You just have to understand it's going to happen and put yourself out there, anyway.

And just because I found this picture today and I almost could not stop staring at it, here's a bonus:


  1. God!! I want to crawl all over that.
    Just found this blog and love it.
    Thank you!!

  2. You're welcome :) And welcome to the blog!

  3. Even if I'm feeling pretty good about something I've posted, I still have to just disappear for a while. I suppose it could be that with strangers, you have no idea how they're going to react.

    *ahem* You're welcome for that picture, haha. It came as a with some SW book I got. I've got it in a frame on my bookshelf. It's fantastic.

  4. Good point about not knowing how strangers will react. And of course there is always the fear that some random person might show up and say something awful just because that's what they like to do.

    You're responsible for that picture? Thank you! And I'm jealous that it is framed and you can look at it all the time.

  5. I agree with everything you said, but like you - I am a hypocrite and fall prey to all the pitfalls that you described! Oh well, I know of no cure except to PUBLISH and do it often :-)