Where do you start?

Putting yourself “out there” as a writer can be a scary step to take. A writer with no published work under his belt. A cheat, a trickster, someone with the audacity to call himself a writer. A collector of documents rotting away in boxes, notebooks or hard-drives. Eventually, you’ll have to show your work to others, unless you just want to write stories for yourself.

It’s an easy mistake to compare yourself with the successful and published authors you have read and feel utterly unqualified by comparison. But even they started out, putting their first stories to paper and letting others read them, learning what works and what doesn’t. Telling stories is a skill that requires practice. And one of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes.

There is nothing new or unique to these thoughts and I am certain, everyone has experienced these feelings in one way or another. Being afraid of judgment seems to be one of those experiences of being human. Especially if something is close to our heart like a story, we easily forget the universal nature of this fear. Most can recall a moment in their life, where they had to take that first step and open themselves up to the world.

The first time I uploaded a video of myself onto the internet, talking to a then non-existent audience was very scary and I repeatedly refreshed the browser, anxiously awaiting the first comment. You’d think that I would remember every single letter, but I can’t even recall what it said.

Over the years I have received thousands of comments, ranging from being incredibly supportive to highly toxic. I listened to the critique and there were moments where I became defensive or discouraged, but even they passed eventually. And you know what? I stopped being afraid of them. Because like the monster in your closet, it’s not so scary once you get to know it.