In a few weeks I will roll out a new program related to cookbook writing. In addition, early next year, my second cookbook will be available in print. Both the program and the book means that there’s a lot of new stuff I’m putting out in the world for everyone to see. Part of me wants to put on the brakes. In some ways, I feel exposed and nervous, especially about the new program. My hope, of course, is that they are both popular and that the program in particular helps an aspiring cookbook author get closer to their goal of writing a cookbook.
A common emotion when we do something new is fear. Fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of exposing ourselves and our ideas to the world, and fear that people will not like the promotion of our books, classes, and programs. If you are reading this know that there are fears that will crop up when you create something new whether it be a piece of art, a cookbook, a class, or a blog post. The scary part is that fear can stop us from doing new things. Fear can stop us from reaching that person who needs (and wants) to hear what you have to say.
I think there are three challenges for any first-time creator. First, is to acknowledge that fear is only half of the equation – the other half is love. Think about your love for what what you do. Think about the people who consume what you create in the form of a book, a book proposal, a recipe, or a class. If they act, or are changed in a positive way, because of something you shared with them then the end result was beneficial. You touched the mind, and perhaps the heart, of another person. That’s nothing to be afraid of.
The second challenge is to feel any fear and move forward despite the fear. We can’t let fear-based thoughts stop us from doing the real work. Instead, we need to focus our energy on the individuals who absorb our message and do good things with it. And then we need to take action and do the new thing. This is where the power lies in our work – in the action. Taking steps everyday to move your ideas and content forward. Sometimes baby steps, sometimes leaps, but getting the project done is the goal, even when you have fears about the outcome.
Third, when we see a fellow first-time creator, give them the support and encouragement they deserve, whether it’s a hug, a like, or a Twitter heart. Let them know that they are doing a good job. If for some reason you’re not drawn to their work, don’t criticize or feel threatened by it. It’s not meant for you. Better to walk away and say to yourself, “I hope that the right people find that message and benefit from it”. You know that the author of that book or the creator of the program might be feeling vulnerable, so they don’t need negative energy from someone who isn’t their audience. Plus, you can spend your time in more positive ways and shift your focus to your own work, not dragging down or ruminating on someone else’s success.
It’s important to recognize these fears and have some positive steps to take when they crop up. If you’re in the process creating something new, or have in any way exposed yourself to a larger audience, you know it may feel safe to sit with the status quo and not create. But, if you don’t create you can’t help others. I know that’s not the way I want to live and I’m pretty sure if you’ve read this far that’s not the type of existence you’re satisfied with either.
Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”.