Have you ever struggled to press the “send” button on your art?

Whether it’s a book, painting, sculpture, or blog post, many of us struggle to release our work into the world.

Even sending an email asking someone for help is hard (there’s one sitting in my draft folder right now that I’ve stared at 18 times).

I know because I’ve been there. After nearly 2 years spent writing my first novel, I published it under a pen name and didn’t tell anyone.

I was scared about what others would think. Not only that, I thought I wasn’t good enough.

Eventually, I earned the confidence to publicly share and own my work. But it took a long time to reach that point.

I rewrote the book several times, to make it better, more accessible, and more discoverable.

Thinking back to that first edition makes me cringe, but it was part of my creative journey. I was teaching myself how to create and improve my art.

It’s easy to slip back into negative thinking. I’ll say things like, “Perhaps this new novel isn’t my best writing,” and “Maybe I should wait and do another revision before entering that contest.”

But why wait for perfect? You and I both know that perfect doesn’t exist.

Consider your favorite movie. Mine is Aliens (Yes, the 1986 movie starring Sigourney Weaver. I write sci-fi, you know). There are entire websites devoted to detailing all the mistakes in the movie. It doesn’t mean I love the movie any less. I bet your favorite movie had its own endearing flaws.

Other much smarter people have said:

If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content. -Leo Tolstoy

Too late, I found you can’t wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else. – Ray Bradbury

You’re nodding in agreement–Nothing is perfect. So, how do you move past the fear and put your work out there?

You have to keep creating. Making creativity a habit means building a muscle that leads to confidence.

I doubt I’ll ever feel completely comfortable publishing new work, but after just publishing my 6th novel (with 7 and 8 on the way), I have confidence that I’m 8 times better than when I first started.

All we can do is strive to create our best work and share it with others.