Serving as Managing Editor for Rebel Storytellers is a blast. I love reading what my friends are writing, and I especially love people who are passionate about helping others pursue their dreams. Because I read the submissions before they get posted on our site, I get inspired before anyone else. I smelled Brad’s cherry headwinds before you. I got excited about Joe’s Bible Experiment before you. I analyzed Darrin’s photograph before you. I shed a tear reading the story of Garrett’s brother before you. It’s like my own personal backstage pass.
But the most interesting part of our launch has been receiving each storyteller’s first submission. Keep in mind, these are incredibly talented people. (Just take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.) Our Storytellers have been creating excellent work for years. They are intelligent, and successful, and many are experts in their chosen fields.
That’s why I was surprised when almost every single Storyteller included a disclaimer with their first submission. They were all worded a little differently, but it went something like, “Let me know if this isn’t any good. Feel free to edit if it stinks, and I’m happy to rewrite if you need me to.”
While I like to pretend my job is excruciatingly difficult, the truth is that I’ve barely had to edit any of the submissions I’ve received so far. The content has been superb. I’ve felt wholly unnecessary at times. But the disclaimers and qualifiers kept rolling in.
I’m the same way when people read my writing for the first time. I want to explain the ten thousand reasons it’s awful before they get the chance to crush my hopes and dreams. I like to lower expectations so people aren’t disappointed in me. And, too often, I keep my creations hidden on my laptop so I don’t have to risk rejection or failure.
Fear can be debilitating. It keeps people from exploring the creative passageways of their minds. It keeps people in the background when they’re meant to be on center stage. The secret that no one wants to let slip is that we’re all scared. Even the best writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, and musicians fear they’re not good enough. Sometimes I forget that I’m not the only one.
Although I don’t wish that paralyzing fear on anyone, the past week has been a reminder that I’m not alone. And neither are you. So, we might as well be scared together, create in spite of our doubts, and take chances in order to free others from those same crippling fears.
Photo (Flickr CC) by epSos.de