Poetry is a deeply personal endeavour, so I have to admit that it’s nerve-racking for me to share my poems for the first time.
Although I know that it’s understandable to feel nervous when putting something so personal out into the world, I still feel anxious when I think about people reading (and judging) my poetry.
Some of the thoughts which have gone through my head before hitting Publish include:
- Is my blog too personal / am I sharing too much?
- Should I really publish my embarrassing childhood poems?
- What if people don’t like my new poetry / what if it isn’t good enough?
- What if someone I share an anecdote about recognises him/herself in it and is offended?
- Why am I doing this anyway?
Ironically, I’ve often told my friends (when they’re nervous) that nerves are good because they show that you really care about something, and they can help motivate you to do your best; I guess I’m just going to have to take my own advice.
Another piece of advice I was recently given (and am going to try and remember whenever I feel anxious) is this: you have to learn to positively interrupt negative thoughts. Any time my brain starts saying “What if people don’t like my blog?”, I’m going to practise thinking “What if some people love it?” – because if even one person enjoys reading my poems and thoughts then it will have been worthwhile for me to share them.
And I’m also going to keep this quote in mind:
“I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”
– Maya Angelou
It seems that even award-winning poets get nervous and suffer from impostor syndrome from time to time, so I’m going to embrace my nerves and turn them into something positive – by writing this poem, for example.
What makes you nervous? Let me know in the comments.