I don’t know these others who want to set me free

Today has been one of those self-doubting days, and I hate them. I hate the way they make me feel, and I really hate the time it wastes. You’d think that I’d learn to ignore the feelings and move on, and sometimes I really can – but today? Not so much.

When Amanda and I first started writing, I can truly say I was doing it for myself.  My family are not the type to express pride at my “little hobby” and I’m not really big on the whole “public accolades” thing. I like fading into the background. I figured we’d write that book and hope it sold. We have ideas for several others if I can convince Amanda to keep writing with me!  When we began the blog, I didn’t want anyone to even know who we were. Mostly out of fear. We went by R & A (still do), and we had no photos up. I wanted anyone who read the blog to read because they liked what we were saying (or because they strongly disagreed) without knowing who we were. For me it was about hiding, and I won’t lie about that. I was afraid of what people might think. I was still trying to figure out my own writing style, and for me, it was more of a personal journey than it was gushing about Duran Duran. I just wasn’t sure how people, the fan community, would take to our blog, and I was really afraid to find out, so we posted as anonymously as possible for quite a while.

I think I’ve settled on this idea that I’m having a conversation with all of you, and that when you read this – you’re getting the real me. I hope that comes through in my writing. When you meet me in person, after my shyness has worn off and I’m comfortable, this is really who I am. I write for myself. My pride in finishing a chapter or a blog is my own personal source of encouragement, and it should be more than enough. However, at some point Amanda and I finally decided that we should “unveil” ourselves. I think we grew proud of what we’d done, and yes – there was a part of us that wanted everyone to know who we were. Egotistical? Probably. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not quite as superhuman as I might want to think.

I know of several blogs where I took the time to flat out say that we wanted no acknowledgement from the band. We didn’t want to even know if anyone was reading.  There were two main reasons behind this that I’m not afraid to share: One, I had been around in the fan community long enough to see that if anyone had some sort of acknowledgement from the band – any “special” treatment – they instantly became the target for ridicule. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t like being a target, even though I am willingly “putting myself out there”. Two, I felt that if I knew the band was actually reading the blog (band, management…road crew, pets…hired hands…whatever), that I’d change my writing. I’d worry more about what they thought and a whole lot less about what *I* thought. That would totally destroy the purpose. So I made sure to say that I didn’t care who commented – I just didn’t want to know about it, and I still feel that way much of the time, although I think I’ve learned that I write the way I write, regardless of who might be reading. I don’t really know for sure, because I really don’t know who is reading – and that’s OK.

I have to tell you, writing is tough. I don’t think this would surprise the band. I think back to some of the interviews from the reunion period where they said they weren’t sure how the fans would receive them. I remember listening or reading those sentences incredulously.  Of COURSE they’d be well-received! Why would there be any doubt?? I just didn’t get it at the time.

I do now.

Self-doubt is a really hard thing to work through. I write nearly every single day, whether it’s for the blog, for the our book project, or even for the convention website.  It is rare when there is any acknowledgement for those things unless I stand back, look at my own work and think “That there is a good blog.” (and perhaps I don’t do that often enough!) When I think of the band writing their albums – they really have no idea how their work will be received until the first time they play it for any kind of a listening audience. That would drive me insane. I think you really have to learn to be confident with your own material enough to get you through long, long periods of quiet.  I’m having trouble with that concept right now. There are times when I wonder if the blog, the convention and even the book are really going to work and if people are really going to appreciate the work that goes into such things – and get something out of it for themselves. It doesn’t matter if those “people” are fans, the band themselves, management…or even myself.

I have to remember why I keep writing. It’s not so that the band notices my hard work. It isn’t so that I become well-known and recognized. (and I’m talking about as a writer, not as a Duran Duran fan-blogger) It’s not so that I start winning fan contests left and right. Those are just the thoughts that creep into my head when I’m doubting myself.  I’m writing because I love to write. I like seeing finished work. I enjoy painting a picture with words. I actually look forward to expanding my writing beyond Duran Duran in the very near future. (believe it or not)  It is only in the moments where I am weak and doubting myself that I start thinking about how nice it would be to have our blog retweeted by the band, or to have one of them actually comment to us, or to have more people respond to us on Twitter, Facebook or even buy tickets for the convention.  Then I slap myself, put my head down, ignore the drama, and get back to work.

I’m human I guess.

-R

2 thoughts on “I don’t know these others who want to set me free”

  1. This post really struck a chord with me (appropriate metaphor?). I've been there–the blogging anonymously, moving toward recognition (and the blessings and curses recognition brings), writing for oneself, all of it. I also discuss in the memoir how I had moments where I imagined the band as my audience and felt the need to apologize or explain myself or present myself in a certain way.

    I've always written the book *I* wanted to read, but of course I want others to like what I read too. And truth be told, I was afraid to give John Taylor a copy of *Ordinary World* — I'd rather he not know it existed than potentially not liking it.

    I think every writer goes through a period of self-doubt, whether it lasts a minute, a month, or even longer. But know that above all, you *are* a writer. And in the end, that is what always comforts me, because it's what I love to be.

    Keep writing. Write through the doubt, the ridicule, the noise, the fear. Write for you. Write the book you want to read.

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