stopthinkfeel asked: How do you get over the fear of failing? I've always wanted to be a writer, but I have never really started anything with substance because I'm afraid of writing something that won't work or that I'll look back on with shame because it didn't amount to everything I always hoped my work would be. I know that this will probably evoke the, "just write" respose, but I guess I just wondered if every artist hesitates to create for fear that they'll make shit instead of beauty, or if I'm just a coward.
Yes, it happens for all of us.
No, your work will probably never be as good in reality, for you, as the perfect wonderful glittering brilliant thing it was in your head when you imagined it.
But other people do not know what you imagined. They only know what they read or see or hear, and for them, the thing you have made may well be wonderful.
And if you fail… is it that bad? Nothing wrong with failing. We do it all the time. At least three stories by me are so utterly rubbish I’ve never collected them. You don’t set out to make bad art, but if you are going to make art, not everything will be perfect, or even good.
You’re not a coward. Just a human being. The alternative is arrogance, and I’d take humanity over that any day.
Except you need a little arrogance, to believe that what you want to say is worth saying. Or that people would want to listen.
I wrote a Sandman short story once, called FEAR OF FALLING, about this. It was me sorting out how I thought and felt about fear of failing, and worse, fear of succeeding. It’s in the Fables and Reflections collection. Some people have told me that it helped them, and I’ve seen phrases from it tattooed on people’s backs and arms.
And, as I said in Coraline, bravery doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. (We’re all scared.) Bravery is being scared, but doing the work anyway.