I am supposed to be editing, working on world building. Instead I am trolling the internet, looking at talks on vulnerability and creatives by the awesome Brene Brown.
It is 20 minutes long, so give yourself some time to watch it.
The video gave me goosebumps. The second she said that her presentation was called Sweaty Creatives, she had me. And by sweat she means that cold sweat that you get when you share your work with others, not the sweat that comes from hard work.
I am very familiar with that cold sweat. As a writer, there is always that sweat. It pops on my brow when I come up with a story, when I sit and create characters, when I reread a line and love it. It beads on my upper lip when I send my work to friends for feedback; and it trickles down my back when I take writing classes, clogging my throat at the thought of reading my work out loud.
I think that everybody that does something creative feels this to a certain extent, that crazy “what if” fear that the vulnerability of creating brings forth. As she says in her talk “without vulnerability you cannot create”.
What I thought was fabulous about her talk is that she talks about the critics that we face and the gremlins that ping pong in our heads as we prepare to present out work. I LOVE her message about facing your critics and saying ” I see you, I hear you. But I am going to show up and do this anyways.”
Then she goes and quotes Theodore Roosvelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
I think I heard harps and trumpets when she quoted this. Yep, I admit it writing scares the daylights out of me.
But it is that idea that the story in my head could truly be great that keeps me at my keyboard.
So on that note – I am off to answer all the hard questions about my book that I have been avoiding for fear that if I didn’t like what was on the page it meant that I had somehow failed the story. The story deserves better than me stalling – as that old Japanese saying says “knock me down seven times, get up eight.” That is what editing feels like.