The Fear of Being You

The most frequent comment in “Jungle Gym for Monkey Mind” (my online poetry class that just started) is a fear of posting their poetry. It’s not surprising. We do creative work and hide it and we don’t have to think about it. But creative work that’s shared is. . . out there. Makes us vulnerable. And vulnerability leads to. . .discovering who we are. Oh.

Make up your own metaphor about this agave. Nope, it's not an artichoke.

Make up your own metaphor about this agave. Nope, it’s not an artichoke.

Is it the fear of comparison? Sure. I might like your work more than mine. And then I won’t be as good as I thought I was before I read your work. Of course, it would also be that if I read yours and like it, I could see how you put together your work and learn something about creative work, you and me. That doesn’t sound so bad.

The other, sneakier fear is: what if my poem thrills me and is the best one posted? Then who will I have to be next week? I’ll have to be better than I was last week–and for sure, I can’t do that.

Your Inner Critic is a sociopath. A compulsive mis-director of attention and facts. You are not going to win with the Inner Critic. So, just for now, no matter what creative work you are doing, go with the creative urge. If you mess up, you learn something. If you do well, you also learn something. And best of all, you are doing creative work. Making meaning. Building your courage muscle. Exercising your bravery skills. Not a bad result of writing some poetry, is it?

–Quinn McDonald made paper do incredible things this afternoon. She hopes it can happen again.