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It Only Counts If You Publish
Feel the fear. Speak anyway.
I was having a conversation with an activist who had lots of great insights when I told him “you should write something about this.” He hemmed and hawed. I’m sure he had a great excuse as to why he couldn’t do it, but he never wrote it down and I don’t remember, so you’ll never know what it was. That’s the problem. No one will know your truth unless you publish it.
There is a saying: Writers don’t get paid to write. They get paid to feel the fear. Before any artist prepares to present their work, there is usually a part of them anticipating the reaction of others. Will they like it? Will they understand it? Is it good? Will anyone see this? Will I get canceled for this? These might all be reasonable questions, but they’re often amplified through the beliefs, feelings, traumas, and egos of the creator asking them. That willingness to click “publish” without knowing how others will react on the other side is the difference between those who have a body of work and those who don’t.
The same is true of any venture. Starting a business, a relationship, or a self-development program only counts if you actually do it. This is even true of ideas. No one will know the thoughts in your head unless you share them. There are many ways to do this. Not a writer? Podcast. YouTube. Hire a ghostwriter and talk to them for a few hours. Get them out in a permanent form others can understand.
There are people who tell me that they support my work, but won’t say so publicly, because they’re afraid of how others will react. At the same time, they wonder why others don’t speak up against harmful practices like circumcision. Of course, they already know. When I talk to doctors, many tell me they oppose circumcision, but won’t say so publicly, because they’re afraid of how others will react. It’s the same pattern. Both groups are afraid to share their beliefs in a form others might react to.
They’re right to be afraid. There will be consequences. However, the consequences of not publishing are no one will ever know what they think. If they don’t speak, they don’t count. Their opinion meant nothing. Silence isn’t violence. Violence has meaning and consequences. Silence is less than that. It’s like never having been born. Even babies cry. Only trauma or satisfaction silences them. If someone isn’t speaking and isn’t satisfied, guess which of those two they’re living from.
I tell myself this. I’ve got whole books outlined in my head. There is more I want to create than time or energy in the day. The more I write, the more ideas I have for what I could write. There is no time to fear. We will all die someday. None of us are making it out of this alive. The question is: do you want to arrive at death safely with your truth unseen or with it expressed?