You know, it never occurred to me when I was unpublished that being published in itself would constitute an enormous amount of pressure. Not in terms of keeping my career going – although I’m sure I’ll struggle with that at some point or another – or in terms of getting support from those close to me – I’ve been exceedingly lucky, there.
It’s meeting other people’s expectations of you.
When you’ve not been published, or people have never read your work, you’re okay. What’s the worst that could happen? They’ll read you and decide they don’t like what they see. Whoop-tee-doo, right?
Now I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to work with some remarkable writers and publishers, building the very beginnings of a reputation through my work (past and present), and allowing them to develop expectations of what I could or would do. The level of quality they could reasonable foresee.
Now let me clarify, first of all, that I’m not complaining. Having the faith and trust of people who are so much more accomplished, and so much more talented than I has been… Amazing.
But now I’ve set the bar, in their minds. A bar. Any bar at all. And I want my future work to reach that bar or exceed it, never fall below.
For me, there is no easy trick for dealing with the resultant stage fright; the only way out is through. Are you struggling? Do you have any special tips for dealing with a writer’s performance anxiety? Do share!
As for me, I’ll bite it back and get back to writing. It seems to be the only option.