I’ve heard it said that artists are inherently egotistical… that at the foundation of all art is the artist’s belief that what he’s putting forward is worth the time and attention of others.
But I think it is at least as often the case that the writer/artist/songwriter has to overcome great personal doubt and self-accusation. I know I did, in order to write and publish my first book. I still do, to write when it would be easy to give into discouragement.
Last summer/fall, when I was considering my schedule and making plans for how I would use my writing time over the next few months, I was journaling one day when I finally wrote down the accusing question that had been niggling at my brain:
The question sat unanswered, accusing me, as tears streamed down my face.
Finally, I’d acknowledged the fear.
Behind the question was all the discomfort of my teenage years. Poor choices. Strained relationships. Self-accusation. The feeling of being misunderstood, never truly being known.
Underneath it all was the sense that, at my core, I don’t really have anything to offer.
The accusation screamed at me: you don’t have anything of value to offer to others, and you are an arrogant idiot to think otherwise.
But there in the silence, came the answer:
No one will buy the book if I don’t write it.
Underneath any risk… any art… any action of offering part of yourself to the masses is this: You have to be willing to fail. The risk is no fun. But without the risk, there is no growth. And ultimately, there is no product at the end of your actions if you don’t turn away from the accusation and decide to take action.
For the writer, there is no book to publish if you do not take the chance and write the thing.
The truth is: No one will buy the book, if you don’t write it.
WRITE THE BOOK.