Photo Credit: Tony Hall via Flickr

These words have an uncertain future. The letters that are arranged to form the words, that are separated by punctuation in accordance with grammatical rules, have high hopes of becoming representations of thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities.

But will these letters and words, commas and periods, hyphens and semicolons earn their rightful place on the virtual page with one click of the “publish” button? Or will a decision to hit “delete” instead erase their dreams of immortality, tossing the sentiments into oblivion?

Will the ideas represented by this collection of nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives, prepositions and participles be for my eyes alone? Or will these vulnerabilities disguised in questions and hypotheticals, sarcasm and criticism survive to face the possible rejection that comes when they open themselves up to external review?

As I type, I wonder at the fate of these words. Will they remain locked inside a cerebral vault, hidden from prying eyes? Or will this assortment of words take the ultimate leap and submit themselves to an online writing competition, accepting the risk of judgment and rejection that comes along with any contest?

The fear of rejection has a tight grip over me. It always has. The taunting face of rejection stares back at me from my mental mirror. It stands guard over my words, quieting the ideas that yearn to be shared. It holds court over my choices, favoring the guaranteed successes to uncertain risks. It steps on my self-esteem, after first kicking it in the gut.

I sense rejection’s mocking, jeering presence and I wonder how I will respond. Will the fear of rejection keep me from participating in the contest, thereby removing the possibility that rejection can heckle me with its nasty chant of “you’re not good enough?” Or is it my turn to stand up to the fear of rejection, recognizing that competition provides motivation for improvement and the opportunity for constructive feedback?

I am inclined to hide these words and shelter myself from potential rejection and any accompanying blows to my confidence.

But I’m sick of cowering in the corner wondering what might be. I am tired of letting fear’s handcuffs shackle me to inaction and the status quo. I have grown weary of the spitefully diabolical voices of rejection, doubt, criticism, and judgment.

Enough, I say. Enough.

This time the fear of rejection will not win. This time I win, if only because I chose to play.

 I am linking up with Yeah Write again this week. Each week a number of talented writers link up to read and be read. I am proud to have earned an honorable mention last week for my post “Hands and a Song.” It is truly an honor. Check out this week’s entries. You can vote for your favorites from Wednesday night to Thursday night. 


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  • It sounds like our inner critics could be related! 😉
    You can never succeed if you don’t try, and in my eyes you’re already a winner for attempting something that can be so emotionally grueling.
    I am glad that you chose to play!

  • I think this is a fantastic submission and can heartily say that I think we all feel the same way. Always nervous to submit our work not just because put such effort into it but because it truly is a piece of us, a piece of our story.

    Fear not. This was a great piece.

    • Thanks! It’s funny that you incorporated my blog name in your comment. I had been toying with the idea of changing the name, but now you have me reconsidering! Perhaps I should leave it as is 🙂 In any event, thank you for your very kind words of encouragement. It really means a lot.

  • Oh, we always have to play! I finally decided I had too many “what ifs” in my life and didn’t want any more! Keep writing, keep posting! Great reads!

  • Even though I try to convince myself that you grow the most when you tackle the things that scare you the most, I can’t always do it. Good for you!!

  • Great post. Keep it up girl and keep the name (I see above you were contemplating changing it). I too faced a fear this past weekend, though unintentional. Since starting to participate in road races one of my biggest fears was being last. It happened. Yep, I was dead last. There’s lots of reasons I told myself this happened but you know what, those reasons don’t matter. At least I tried. So now I’m saying, “I did it!

    • Good for you for even trying! There have always been so many things that I have abstained from simply because I was afraid of not being good enough. All that gets me is the opportunity to miss out on something. Thanks for your encouragement. I think I will keep the name. I was thinking of switching to swimming-upstream but its kind of a hassle. I’m changing blog platforms later this week and that seems to be enough right now.

  • I hear you on this one. Rejection sucks, but I truly think we are all winners just for putting ourselves out there, as you said. The world is big enough for all of us, regardless of who “wins”!

    • Thank you so much! As nervous as I get about hitting publish, the grid competition has been a really great source of motivation and inspiration. So many other writers – you included! – have taught me a great deal about being a better writer.

  • I’m totally insecure of my writing. Which is why I stopped submitting to yeah write when it became clear it was more a place for serious writers rather than blogs like mine. I think you’re totally worthy of a space there, and you shouldn’t fear rejection of your writing at least, because this was good!

    (see I can’t even write a coherent comment!)

    • Ha, ha! Thanks! I wish I could say this fear of rejection was limited to writing, but it is a bit more pervasive than that. I think that it might just be a bit of human nature to wonder if we are good enough – smart enough, pretty enough, cool enough, etc. I’m trying to say “enough!” to feeling like I’m not enough 🙂

  • I’m right there with you! I had a mini panic attack when I hit publish and linked up last night. It is vulnerable and courageous to put ourselves out there. I love how you wrote this post and feel inspired by your statement of “enough.” Well done!

  • Oh yes, I feel certain that we have all been there. I’m just a few weeks into this link up community and every week my inner voice tells me I’m not good enough. Sit this one out until you have something real to say. I too consider it a victory every time I chose to “play”!

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