I recently self-published my first short story. It was nowhere near the first short story I’ve written, but it was the first one I published. This is a huge celebration for me, but not because of the story itself. I am proud of the work I did on it, but I have no idea if anyone is going to read it, like it, or hate it. I plan on continually publishing more and more work and improving on my craft. This story will only be a minuscule part of what I do in the future. Plus, there are a lot of writers that publish multiple NOVELS every year, so who cares about one little, tiny story? The story is important for what it represents: starting to publish work.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I wrote several stories and started many novels. A lot of my writing I’ve done over the years has ended up fragmented and incomplete. I’ve finished the occasional story but never had confidence in anything. Plus I always had it in my head that writers were starving artists except for a handful of people.
In 2010, I started reading about self-publishing. It was an intriguing concept and I researched everything I could. I read blogs, books, and listened to podcasts. Self-publishing continued to grow and several authors started to be successful. I was inspired but still did not take action. This made me frustrated with myself. I kept succumbing to analysis paralysis and trying to find the best way to go about my writing career. The more research I did, the more conflicting advice I found. It continued to muddy things for me and I did not move forward with what I really wanted to do.
When I look back and analyze everything, there are many excuses I could make for why I didn’t move forward with my writing aspirations. However, that is what they all are…excuses. What was really happening was that I was succumbing to fear. Fear that my writing would be terrible. Fear that I had to know how to do absolutely everything before publishing. Fear of my writing being judged and that the judgments would be indictments on me, not my writing. It’s easy to not put things out into the world out of fear of how people may or may not respond. However, after looking at the time I’ve wasted, I’m going to focus on the fear of wasting more. Publishing a short story isn’t a huge celebration, but overcoming the fear of publishing my writing is a big deal for me.