Maybe it’s because I’m still relatively new at this, but there is a certain kind of sheer terror that comes in the moments between submitting a potentially-controversial blog post and having it go live. Or between having it go live and getting the first comments on it. Or between getting the first comments and clicking “refresh” over and over again. I feel it in my chest and my stomach, as well as in my mind. I am trying to figure out what causes it.
I detect a bit of guilt in it, as if I have done something naughty. But why should I be afraid of, or feel guilty about, sharing what I think? As long as I am putting forth my best (brief) thought on a topic, and not calling anyone names or saying things I know to be false, what is the harm of raising a question and starting a conversation? Perhaps it is not guilt so much as shame – as if I am stupid and worthless, and am doing the world a grave disservice by spewing my stupid and worthless thoughts around the interwebs. (Luckily, the virus that is my blogging voice has so little power to infect the masses as to be negligible.)
There is also a very basic fear of having strangers or acquaintances experience hatred or disapproval or disdain toward me because of something I wrote. Even if they never post hatred or disapproval out there for everyone to see, the very idea that it might be happening somewhere is enough to make me want to pull into my shell. You idiot, who do you think you are? says my inner troll; No one cares what you think. No one needs to know what you think. Why can’t you just shut up?
Well, because. I like ideas, and I like people. I like relating to people. I like relating to people through writing. I like them to relate to me that way, too (preferably without calling me names). This doesn’t make me particularly special or unique, but neither does it make me particularly self-aggrandizing or wicked. I don’t hate other people who write, so why do I hate myself for writing? It’s just something I do. I could stop, I suppose; that would fix the terror problem, but it wouldn’t really fix the underlying feelings of worthlessness and shame and fear.
I guess the best I can do is pay attention to myself – how I feel when writing, and how I feel when waiting for a response. What about you? If you write, why do you write? If you don’t write, why don’t you?