One of the things I’ve always said I wanted more than anything is to write. I’ve spent hours in bookstores, perusing the shelves and wishing that someday I could publish something of my own. As a child and teenager, I was constantly scribbling something in a notebook or journal, or a scrap of paper or a napkin at my high school food service job. I told myself I would do it for real someday.
Yet… I’m not. Part of it is that I’m not creative; I’d love to write a novel, but I have a hard time thinking of a story that would be worth the time and I’m too young to write any sort of memoir (I’m not Miley Cyrus, memorist at seventeen). So there’s that.
There’s also the fact that I’m afraid of failure. I’m not afraid of failure the way everyone is afraid of failure – as a sort of “what if?” scenario. I’m afraid of failure because I know failure and most things I’ve done, I’ve failed at. Including writing, the only thing I’ve ever felt remotely decent at.
I read a lot of things: books, blogs, websites, emails, presentations. So many times, I see things I would have done differently, that could have been so much better. I know that I’m not off the mark; I do have some sort of writing talent, even if it’s very basic.
The problem is, I have never been able to prove that. One of the most spectacular – and embarrassing – failures in my life was an internship I did (or attempted to do) right after college. It was on the side of my regular job, not a full-time gig, and it involved writing a newsletter for a psychology department at my university. They hired me without any writing samples and with the knowledge that I knew very little about the subject matter, and they expected me to figure out how to write the newsletter with no examples. The short version is, I failed. Spectacularly. When I sent what I’d written to one of the women I profiled, she let me know that it was probably more cursory than they’d been looking for.
When I submitted the final version to whoever was in charge, I admitted that I was told it was probably too superficial. I probably apologized. She wrote back saying she hadn’t gotten a chance to read it yet, and then I never heard anything from them again. I checked their website a few times to see if any newsletters were published, but I never saw anything.
And screwing something up <I>so badly</i> that it’s not even worth of a response is not my finest moment. And it’s made me afraid to try again in any sort of official capacity.
I’ve got big dreams of publishing something, someday, but I know the only way to get there is to do it. Problem is, the only way to “do it” is to get over my fear of failing – and I don’t really know if I can.