Putting Yourself Out There
Personally, I think it’s a hard thing to do. I remember when I was first beginning to publish Lines in the Sand like it was yesterday. Several things began to slowly dawn on me as I went through the process of making decisions and winding my way through the curvy, often confusing sometimes bumpy, path of publishing. As each decision came my way I realized more and more that what I was actually doing was creating a business. Startling enough… but then something really clicked home. I leaned back on my couch one night, looked up at the ceiling, musing to myself and thought, “Oh my God, I’m going to have to put myself out there. Actually, I am putting myself out there.”
It was a weird feeling, something that both unnerved and excited me. It was unnerving because all my life, with the exception of writing some articles for my college newspaper and seeing my name attached to some work I had done for a local paper in town, I had been anonymous… like a lot of us. It was exciting because my dream of having a book published was becoming a reality, the drum beat becoming louder and louder with each passing day.
I have to admit, the unnerving part was, at first, a bit stronger than anything else. As usual, my mind wandered and I began to think that there is a certain safety in being anonymous. There’s no spotlight. You can go about your life without feeling the sting of criticism, without eyes on you. You can fly under the radar and no one will ever know about you. For me, that’s kinda comforting. I like that. More so after I came home from the war. I wanted nothing more than to be left alone and be anonymous after Iraq.
Then, my mind began to turn in another direction.
But, I thought to myself, there are trade offs to that as well. You also might not fulfill your dream(s). You also might be missing out on wonderful, tremendous things that would never happen if you hadn’t dared jump in the pool to see what happens. Those things could change your life in ways you never imagined and perhaps for the better.
Maybe that’s the tricky part of trying to predict the future. There really is no way to do it. No way to foresee how things will actually turn out… albeit for better or for worse.
So, I decided it really doesn’t matter. What matters is fulfilling your dreams in life and in order to do so, odds are you’re gonna have to take some chances. There are no “freebies.” Things won’t just naturally land on your doorstep, no matter how hard you squeeze your eyes shut and try to will it to happen. Well, maybe there are a few, rare exceptions but, overall I don’t think it works that way.
Given that, now that my wavering had finished with me, I thought of how I would go about handling putting myself out there. I decided to just let it go. Let go of it all – all the fears, the trepidation, the cringy, make you want to bite your nails worry of, what if I fail? What if I get a bad review? What if no one wants to read the book? What if this is all for nothing?
It’s not that I have that thick of a hide that something like that wouldn’t affect me. I believe it always will. I also believe that’s because I really do care about producing something of value and I care about my writing. It’s important to me. But what overrides that more than anything else is, no matter what happens, no matter what people say, no matter how fierce the spotlight can get, no one can ever take away the fact that I fulfilled my dream. That, I will always carry with me.
Isn’t that worth the price of admission?