Write like nobody’s watching
Let’s talk about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. How many things have you wanted to do in your life, but have stopped short? Self-doubt, fear of failure or being judged can choke our willingness to go out and do that scary but exciting thing. So, why do we let them?
What experiences, what discoveries, what joys are we missing out on by getting in our own way?
“There are no failures, just experiences and your reaction to them.” – Tom Krause
Testing, testing. 1, 2. 1, 2.
Every so often, I test myself. I make myself do one of the things that make me quake to see if I get a little less scared or enjoy it a smidge more. One of these tests is public speaking. I hate it! All those expectant faces. All that attention. But I head for the spotlight occasionally and try to pretend nobody is watching (sometimes they’re not!).
I had a tiny speaking part in a play at uni. I said my vows at my wedding (well, OK, who else was going to do that for me?!). I did presentations at work. I spoke at my gran’s funeral. I make the odd reel for social media.
The results are never perfect – I fluff lines, I tremble so much I almost fall out of my shoes – but I do it. And it’s not that I’m no longer afraid of being judged or messing up (that runs deep!), I just do it for myself. I do it to show myself that I can stumble out of my comfort zone and dance a little in the fear. I give it a whirl and see what comes of it. And, bit by bit, speaking to audiences is becoming less terrifying.
Give yourself permission
Is writing one of those scary things for you? Does the thought of someone else reading your words make you sweat? Do you get flashbacks from school of red ink scratches across the page? Do you feel judged by what comes out onto the paper?
What if they don’t like it?
What if I get my apostrophes in the wrong place?
What if I write something stupid?
Now, what if this. What if you lived your life never experiencing the rush of words pouring onto a page? Your words. What if you never felt the pride of reading through something you’ve created, of looking over the lines of thoughts, imaginings, knowledge, opinions you’ve crafted? All of that potential, lost. All of that satisfaction and enjoyment, denied.
What will it take to face that fear and do it anyway? It’s obvious, isn’t it? If you don’t try it, you’ll never know.
So give yourself permission to write. Put aside your fears. And to hell with other people’s opinions! (They’ll probably love it, anyway.)
Write like nobody’s watching. Write without judgement. Write for yourself. For now, it’s between you and that sheet of paper.
Take up the challenge
If you’re looking for a way to start or get back into writing, we’ve just the thing. The Booksmith Academy is running a 14-day writing challenge beginning on 11 September 2023. Each day you’ll receive a writing prompt, a gentle nudge of inspiration to get your thoughts flowing and pen moving.
Sign up and watch out for your reflective writing prompts in your inbox and on our socials. Then all you need to do is go with the flow.