The Artist’s Fear

In a class today, we were talking about the types of artists and the way that they view themselves and things like that, and something came up that caught my attention.

Someone said that a large part of being an artist is fear.

Someone else immediately went on to invalidate what was said on the grounds that fear isn’t something only artists feel. Which is true.  But our class descended into a major debate about it anyway.

So, here’s my take.  An artist is, in my mind, any person who creates something out of nothing. I specifically, am a writer.  I also play music and paint, but above and before all else I am a writer. And as a writer, there is a huge part of me that is afraid.

Afraid of being vulnerable. Afraid of being too much.  Afraid of not being good enough.

Our class is full of artists, and there aren’t any two of us that do the same thing, for the most part.  But when it got to me, the professor (If you read my first entry, it’s the woman I decided to just call K) asked for my take.

And I felt like I was going to vomit.

Now, let’s preface this with the fact that there are only two writers in our class.  I am a writer, and K is a writer.  That’s almost an insult, putting her and I in the same category.  She’s brilliant, I told you before that she’s one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, but her brilliance is most noticeable in her writing.

And I had to explain, sitting next to this brilliant woman, that as a writer, my greatest fear is handing a piece of my soul to someone like her–someone I admire and look up to in so many ways–and having her tell me it isn’t enough.

I can handle being criticized, it’s a part of doing what I do, of being who I am. But there is something different about handing it to someone you know and love, someone you have such tremendous respect for, and letting them see you bare.

And when I write, that’s what I am.  There is next to nothing that I write that doesn’t leave some part of me exposed.

Fear is a big part of being a writer, of being an artist. And I just needed to share this.


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