#3amblackpoetry in July, Day 3: Applying the Courage Balm and Accepting Submissions
Is it possible to be a writer who wants to have her words read while also being a person whose soul and self-worth occasionally wither until sunbeams hit again? There are many creators around the world who will confess to existing in both poles – needy yet shy, attention-seeking yet hermit-adjacent. In fact, it is likely for this reason that historians and anthropologists find and showcase what becomes famous written and artistic work of others after finding them in journals and private archives. I, too, know this challenge. I want an audience or readership, I’ve told myself since childhood, but is this piece of writing worth sharing? Is this body of produced work worth anyone’s attention? Would it be better to just discard it all or start all over?
Questioning your virtues, values and contributions is normal, in general, but as a writer it is dangerous. Perfectionism and peculiar preoccupations when working interrupts creativity, dampens individual progress, and slows growth that emerges from repetition and a track record of completion. How I’ve come to deal with self-doubt and oscillating amounts of courage is by creating digital spaces where I upload and, from time to time, share my work.
Yes, I consider myself a digital storyteller, which means that now, when showcasing my creativity, I often include video, visual and audio elements alongside my writing. But to be clear: forcing myself to post work and building a “library of me” means I have become my own, personal archivist, and that means that very little that gets written or produced stays hidden or private. Some might call this a portfolio, and maybe it is, but to me, it is far less intentional.
Yes, in my most confident and productive times, I frequently curate, assemble collections, and share works through online and physical exhibitions, live and digital performances, and through juried contests reviewed by teams of professionals. But even in my darkest hours, and even if there’s an internal storm wrought with thundering doubts, I remove the emotions, dig through “recent” pieces, and post my writing. Does that mean that I forgo editing my work? Well, as a matter of fact, the process of transferring my writing from one format or medium to another is the exact step-by-step that also helps me proofread, and, if I daresay, find peace, though not necessarily perfection, in my work.
At this point, if self-doubt rears its head, like an old muscle injury that comes and goes, posting my work and building a personal archive is the balm or bandage that keeps me moving forward.
Do you have a personal archive or “library of me” housing your work? Have you built a strategy for overcoming self-doubt as a creative? Feel free to share your process, AND/OR if you want to, feel free to submit work you might want to see this month during our #3amblackpoetry in July series. Although there is no guarantee, I do promise that every submission makes submitting easier, so if you haven’t yet, try it with us!
Sunshine and laughter,
Educator – Writer – Artist – Cultural Savant
And Publisher/Editor of 3 AM IS THE NEW BLACK