Friday, April 16, 2010

Ignoring that Inner Voice

Over the last weekend I did something that was probably the most terrifying experience of my life. I entered a Japanese karaoke competition (hey, I don't speak Japanese)... and I was the lucky person to go first. I've gotten up on stage and performed before and had no problem, but just with the prospect of doing something new and unfamiliar and maybe, just maybe, embarrassing the heck out of myself a small voice kept repeating over and over again in my head "run".

As I was sitting around, waiting for the competition to start every inch of me didn't want to be there. The voice kept telling me that "why would I want to get up and humiliate myself" and "why would I want to?" The mere thought of rejection was killing me.

As writers, we've got to learn and accept rejection. If we don't put ourselves out there, and only keep our writing to ourselves then there's no way to grow or learn from the experience. Rejection is one form of growth. If you can get back up after being told NO, then there's no way you'll be able to improve or grow.

When the little voice decided to nag me, there was a couple of things I had to do to give myself the strength to push on:
  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Tell myself that it's okay to fail - you learn more from mistakes than you do from successes (even though successes feel better)
  3. Tell myself that all experiences will help me grow... even if I fall on my butt in front of hundreds of people (lucky there were only 50 in the auditorium)
  4. And, picture everyone in their underwear (well, not really... but I've heard this helps some people who have to perform in front of people... I just think it's creepy)
Well, as you can see from the picture, I ended up singing in front of everyone (not perfectly, but I think I was more focused on keeping my legs from collapsing underneath me... I hope they were shaking in time with the music). I didn't win (the winners were one who sang a Japanese song in opera style and one who translated a Linkin Park song into Japanese), but I did learn that I can do anything if I set my mind to it (and, perhaps learning a foreign song in 2 weeks isn't the best strategy for these sort of things).

So, do you have a little voice of doubt and how do you overcome it?


Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

LOL! I was told to imagine the audience was naked. That freaked me out. Ick!

Overcoming doubt? I try to ignore it. When I think about it, the whole process becomes overwhelming. So I wander through my own little world, and keep trying to push the boulder to the top of the mountain. ;-)

Angela said...

Great post!

It gave me the perfect idea of how to handle my nerves when I send out query letters. I'll imagine the agent reading the letter in his/her underwear. The rejection won't feel nearly so bad then! LOL.

Unknown said...

@Deb, I totally agree. I don't know how people can picture the audience like that.

@Angela, LOL. That would be an interesting way to receive a rejection.

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