This is a quote from Brene Brown. One that couldn’t be more true.
Courage doesn’t mean without fear. It’s not the same as fearlessness and it’s not the opposite of fear. True courage means feeling the fear, embracing the fear, and taking the steps forward in spite of the fear.
Every author who makes the decision to show their book to others shows true courage. Very few of them do so fearlessly and no one does it without vulnerability. It’s one of the reasons agents can sometimes receive blowback responses to rejection. An author has put themself out there and truly feels hurt, and possibly scared, by feedback.
It is hugely vulnerable to show your work to others. To say, I put my heart on a page, and now I’ll show it to you. I’ll welcome your critique, your criticism, and, yes, your praise. This is what courage looks like.
You Don’t Win without Courage
You will never win, succeed, or find real happiness by letting fear control your life. You will certainly never publish. It’s with courage we fall in love, chase our dreams, and find real reward. It was with courage I started BookEnds, offered on my first client, and showed their work to publishers. It’s that same courage with which each and every client and author submits a query.
And with courage comes vulnerability. It’s with vulnerability we feel fear.
But the only way to ever get your book published, to fall in love, to start that business, or to own a puppy is to make yourself vulnerable. Vulnerable to heartbreak, criticism, and loss. But imagine life without vulnerability.
Imagine all the things we would miss if creators chose fear over courage. Imagine a world without TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, PURPLE RAIN, Wonder Woman, Wayne Gretzky, or the paperclip.
Making yourself vulnerable is scary. A life of never trying is even scarier.