Distrust Desperation

There is a fear that's present in every creative endeavor involving your true voice.  By your true voice, I mean that form of expression that is uniquely you; that draws on your own experience, has an opinion, involves honest likes and dislikes.  In short:  you're not hiding.  Succeed or fail, soar or crash, you are out in the open, totally vulnerable.  You could be laughed at or affirmed, hated or loved, dismissed or embraced.  This fear is legitimate.  I know of no way around this. There is another type of pseudo fear that can show up in creative pursuits.  I say pseudo because it's based on lies; lies that can sound awfully convincing. Another word for this pseudo fear is desperation.  Desperation tries to persuade you to forsake authenticity and opt for imitation, which, it argues, is a surer way to success.  Be careful with that word success, by the way; its definition varies wildly depending on which mindset you are operating in.

Legit fear says: "Not everyone may like this.  You may be misunderstood, mislabeled and misjudged.  There's real risk here."

Desperation says: "Who do you think you are? (Desperation's classic opening volley.)  Nobody cares.  You need to sound/write/look more like __________ (current successful flavor of the month).  Screw this up - and you're finished.  You'll be exposed as the fraud you are and expelled from the creative community forever.  First, get approved by the taste makers and gate keepers by parroting a successful (watch that word again)/proven/known artist; then worry about 'finding your voice,' whatever that means."

There is a vast difference between these two fears.  One is healthy and can actually spur you on to great work.  The other intimidates you by discounting your true voice and offering a short cut to fame and fortune.  Learn to tell the difference between them.  Embrace the one and distrust the other.

I believe it's possible to experience legit fear without becoming undone. Remember, courage isn't the absence of fear.  More often than not, one accompanies the other.  Let fear become a validation that you're digging in the right place.  Of course it's risky - but that's where the good stuff is.

The world is crying out for authenticity.  We need to hear your true voice. Apart from presenting a false self, it's all you really have.