Friday, June 6, 2014

Put Yourself Out There

I write in order to communicate. Sometimes, being an introvert, I find it difficult to fully express myself to others in person. But when I write, it all comes out. I used to journal a lot, and that helped me get out of my head for a bit, but when I started writing songs, and then stories, I found what I truly loved. 

Sure, when you first start sharing your stories with those around you, you feel a little embarrassed and vulnerable (heck, not even just the first time, but every time!). And, yes, you are going to receive a lot of criticism, some of it good and beneficial, some it crappy and unhelpful. But, let's face it, the reason we share it is to connect with someone. Think about your favorite book... those characters are your friends, and that story is your story, in some way. And then, you have connected not just with the author, but with all of those other people out there who also love that book, and that's such a cool thing to think about.

I've noticed that sometimes the most critical people are the ones who are unwilling to share their work with others, perhaps fearing that people will judge their work as harshly as they do to others. So, practice being uplifting and encouraging toward those around you, and I believe that will come back to you. Remember in high school when you felt so insecure about what you were wearing or what backpack brand you had because you thought you wouldn't be "cool" enough? I think that same thought carries through into adulthood. But what did you figure out when you were an adult? No one cares how you dress or who made your backpack (or car, or house). Have enough confidence in yourself and your abilities to relate to others through your work. Vulnerability is what draws people to each other.

Last night was opening night of a play that I wrote and directed for some local kids and teens (The Play's The Thing), and let me tell you, that it can be little nerve-wracking if I think about it too much. I mean, I kept kind of forgetting that I had written it as I was directing it (It's hard to explain, but by putting on the director "hat" I had to think about the script in that way, rather than the writer way.) but in the end, there's myself, up on that stage, dependent on 16 kids and teenagers to interpret my story to an audience of friends and family. Scary, yet also very cool.

So what am I getting at? Just this: don't be afraid to put yourself and your work out there. Life is too short to worry about what other people think. Also, don't be so critical of other's work so that it stifles your own. If you have a story to tell, tell it to the world.

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