Being a writer can be extremely stressful. Sometimes it feels like every decision we make has the potential to destroy our entire career.
For instance, if you write a blog post and it has something in it that you know people will disagree with, you might hesitate before pushing the "publish" button. Or on twitter, you read someone commenting on something political. All you want to do is show them your support, but you also realize that some of your followers might read it and disagree. What to do? Keep silent? Will speaking up make everything blow up in my face? Or when you're writing a query and you've edited your hook more times than you've edited your book. The words are a jumbled mess in front of you, but you know if you don't get this right, you might never be published.
Any of those things sound familiar?
I've made mistakes. I do things wrong and so do other authors. I have regrets that my mind likes to torture me with on occasion. We all offend people sometimes, say things we wish we hadn't, write things that we later realize we could have made better. We disappoint people and lose readers.
But you know what? It's okay.
Because we're human and no matter what people tell you, one mistake won't destroy your career. It might cause damage or slow you down, but as long as you're willing to keep going and pick yourself up, then it will be okay.
During those down moments, if you give up, that's the only time when you can truly fail. Otherwise, opportunities to succeed will continue to open up for you. You just have to work hard and take risks.
Taking risks is scary. I've been terrified about getting my book out there and the risky things I've written about in it. There's quite a bit inside of it that has the potential to offend people.
Self-publishing, especially without querying first, means I have pretty much zero chance of ever publishing this traditionally. It means I'm taking a certain road with my career that I may regret later.
But should I sit here and be scared? Or should I take the plunge and learn from my mistakes?
Don't be scared to mess-up. Be scared of never trying.