I have finished writing everything that I wanted to include in the post. Everything that I’ve written is the best way of expressing my thoughts that I can possibly come up with in that moment. I have reread it and scanned it for errors more times that I care to admit. I have tagged it and categorised it in all the relevant ways. The post has been SEO optimised. My cursor hovers over the “Publish” button… then moves upwards and presses “Save Draft” instead.
I’m sure that everyone has experienced this at some point. Putting your work out there for people to read and form their own opinions on is petrifying, regardless of the platform or medium. I constantly have to psych myself up to press “submit”. To me, “submit” isn’t just a button to release something I’ve written onto the internet, it’s also a submission of shame and guilt. Yes, I wrote this. I’m sorry I subjected you to that. And I’m just talking about Grammar and spelling errors. When it comes to talking about complex issues, the terror increases tenfold. A lot of the time, I’m so scared of being wrong and hyper-critical of my work that I end up deleting everything and not saving any copies.
Recently, I’ve been looking for publications to publish some of my creative pieces, and I found quite a few which seemed to be looking for the type of content that I produce. However, I only submitted one of my poems to one such publication. Why? It was the only publication that explicitly stated that there would be an editing process. The poem I was planning to submit was about a sensitive topic and I wanted another pair of eyes to look at it and rip it apart before I could consider it ‘good enough’.
I don’t think this is a healthy mentality to have. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to not understand every thing about the world as long as you’re making an effort to become better every day. Rationally, I know that and honestly do believe it. At the same time, I’m really not the most rational person out there when it comes to my own work. I can think things through logically, but there are always going to be gaps filled in my bias and a little pinch of self-loathing.
Nothing created by a person will be 100% perfect. Sure, the Grammar and Spelling can be perfect, but there will always be a way that the writer could have phrased it better, or conserved more words. Through putting your work out there and receiving feedback, you can make improvements to your work and constantly get better each time. It never has to be perfect, but ideally it should be your best each time so that you’re improving from your best rather than from your worst.
So do your best, then press submit/publish/post. I promise you that it’s not as bad as it seems. And even if it is the worst thing ever, you know that the only way you can go from there is up.