Today I am afraid. This is not an unusual emotion for me to be experiencing. People who use their creativity in the form of art, writing or music or anything else, combat fear on a daily basis. Gnawing away at one’s self-confidence is the terror that you as a person are going to be judged on your creation. Of course, that fear is a founded one. People have opinions of singers and writers based entirely on their output (not speaking of those who court media attention by bandying their personal lives around of course).
But I have found that most people are very generous in their assessment of others, giving the benefit of the doubt about them before being proven otherwise.
The artist does not think this is true. They lie awake at night thinking their creation is somehow going to cause them to be ostracised by the community. They think their novel might be seen as so unutterably terrible that they will be put up on the stage merely to be laughed at, with scornful comments like ‘what on earth was she thinking?’ or ‘what possessed him to believe he had any talent at all?’
It is the very unlucky artist who receives comments such as this and they’re mercifully rare. In my experience people are generous with their praise and will always try to find the good in a piece of work.
I am afraid today though, and I don’t believe that. I believe that my novel is so…scrappy…that whoever has the job of reading it is going to tell me not to get my hopes up and to focus on teaching instead. This fear is making it impossible for me to really get started. Instead I’m even pondering making that phone call to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that I’ve been putting off for a few weeks. The fear of being a terrible writer is even bigger than my fear of the tax man at the moment. And that’s saying something.