I’m going to continue linking to my friends over at Vocal Articles, this time to the insight that you must “Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable.” Again, they’re talking about singing, and again, I’m saying: They might as well be talking about writing.
Many people give up too early on their writing or become frozen by fear because writing isn’t nearly as fun as they thought it would be. Maybe they enjoyed it as a kid or have always liked writing in journals, but once they turn it into a more serious pursuit, they figure they’re not cut out for it because it feels hard sometimes. A lot of the time. Most of the time.
I have news: Professional writers struggle, too. We hate writing. Seriously. I mean, we must like something about it. I know I like having written. But the process can be torturous, at least until you realize that a lot of it will suck. It’s like any other practice or training: Running long distances can hurt. Practicing scales can be boring or frustrating. But we do these things because we crave the end results, and because we get better by doing them. The same is true for writing.
Try new things, even if that means promising yourself you don’t have to show these writing experiments to anyone. If they turn out well, maybe you’ll change your mind; maybe you’ll even publish them. Or you’ll use the lessons learned in some other way. The mistakes you make in writing can feel like “wasted” time, but they usually lead you to the right ideas, the better ideas.
On the other hand, I also encourage you—just like my singing friends at Vocal Articles—to get your work out there at some point, in some way. You don’t have to read to a room full of total strangers; maybe just taking a writing class where you share work or trading work with friends will do. You’ll most likely get some good feedback at some point—laughs, nods of recognition—that will show you’re onto something. If nothing else, you’ll learn to let go of your work a bit, and you’ll learn that sharing your work won’t kill you. It only makes you stronger.