As a writer, I love what I do. It's what happens after I write that gets my cortisol roiling — making submissions. It's a horrible word, submission. It has the air of giving over, giving in, maybe even giving up. But it is the only way to get my work into the world. I have to let other people see it and make their own judgements for my words to have life.
Recently, I spent two hours believing I'd been rejected from a workshop. In that two hours, I ran through my classic litany of self-flagellation, beginning and ending with — I suck. I was, to use a Britishism, gutted. As it turned out, I was accepted into the workshop but, thanks to the mysteries of the internet, I'd received a tardy verification of my acceptance.
Of course, I was relieved, delighted, overjoyed and infused with refreshed confidence in my work when I received the acceptance note. Which made me realize just how reliant I have become on the approval of others — the kiss of death in any creative endeavor. Is it possible that my work transformed into something fabulous over those two hours of devastation? No. My work is my work, and it's only as good as I can make it at any given point in time. The only thing that had transformed was my feelings about my work, which were wickedly connected to whatever others were saying about it.
Take away: Enough worrying about whatever others might say. Time to do the work to the best of my ability and let it go. Time to literally submit to whatever happens without attaching my feelings of worth to the outcome. To connect with other human beings, I have to risk submission. Now, all I have to do is learn to submit without putting my head under the guillotine along with my work!