It took a very long time to launch A/Manifesto. There’s a plausible reason for that. Here’s why.
Fear can be a real bitch.
And it’s one of the main reasons why it took forever to launch A/Manifesto.
If you’ve read the manifesto, I mentioned that this idea was in my head for a very long time. Waiting. Dwelling. Growing in every nook and cranny of my brain, to a point where it was practically screaming to be created.
But whenever I thought about it and had grandeur ideas of where I could take this, one thing always managed to seep its way into my visions: fear, in all of its terrifying forms.
Fear of steady commitment (“Do I have the time to maintain this?”).
Fear of judgement (“What if nobody likes what I create?”)
Fear of missed opportunities (“What if I miss other great opportunities in favour of this?”)
But out of all of them, fear of wasting my time and energy into something that could quite possibly become “just another website on the internet”. Simply put, I feared failure.
This fear of failure manifested itself in two ways.
Starting my career as a freelance writer, I worked with various brands and publications to build my portfolio, all of whom were successful in their own right and had a reputation to back it. I never had to focus on building something from scratch, because the foundations were already built. I just had to write.
Thus, taking several steps back by reducing my freelance gigs in pursuit of launching my own platform – and having to manage every single aspect of it – I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not this could actually work.
Being stuck in this mindset often overwhelmed me with crippling stress, until I came to the conclusion that I would fail because I wasn’t “ready”.
Secondly, fear manifested itself through the industries I was interested in. As a writer whose interests mainly lied in fashion and beauty, I’m aware of how ruthless those fields could be.
In fashion, failure isn’t generally an option – especially in the age of social media, where fashion accounts convey a message that absolute perfection is synonymous to leading a happy, successful life.
Yes, I knew the images were heavily edited, but I couldn’t help but feel incredibly incompetent. The more these messages bombarded me online, the more my mind raced down an endless staircase of inadequacy. Like venom from a snake, this negativity seeped its way into every vein of my body, paralyzing me with self-criticism and loathing.
After all, I wasn’t “living my best life”, had a wardrobe filled with expensive brands, or had my own team, so who was I to contribute? I’d stick out like a sore thumb.
So again, I came to the conclusion that I would fail because I wasn’t “ready” as I didn’t have the resources everybody else seemed to have.
That said, I still clung to the idea of launching A/Manifesto someday, when the time was right.
When I read a book called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, she spoke about treating your creative idea as an entity. In summary, she writes that your idea isn’t yours, to begin with. It has scoured the world clinging onto others until it found someone who wanted to invest in it. The entity’s presence then becomes all-consuming inside of you, but if no action is taken, the spirit moves onto someone else.
It took forever to realise that if you don’t do anything about an idea, that’s all it will be – an idea. A thought that swims under the crevices of your mind, hidden from view. And if it does leave as Gilbert suggested, the only thing it will become is a distant memory.
Something tinged with regret from unfulfillment. Something that “could’ve been”.
Knowing this, I (finally) came to the revelation that I would rather pursue something and witness the outcome, rather than be stuck in a cycle of what if’s that only spoonfed me with stress, anxiety and worst of all, fear.
We all overthink, but overthinking seems especially paramount in the creative world, where everyone is trying to think big and one-up each other in order to stand out from the masses.
My fear of failure stemmed from overthinking. Being somebody who has worked in the media, I wanted my platform to be big and bold. It had to wow the socks off the industries I was immersed in. It had to receive gigantic amounts of traffic. If I was going to launch something, I might as well try to break the internet while I’m at it. Goals like these are no easy feat, and it only added more layers of overthinking and delay.
Yet at the core of it all, what I mainly wanted was a place to write and explore other mediums of storytelling. That’s it.
Create my art, for the sake of art.
It reminded me of a part from a quote by Marianne Williamson:
“…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
When I peeled back all those unnecessary layers and discovered the core of A/Manifesto, the overthinking and fear of failure associated with it subsequently stopped.
At the end of the day. you’re never completely ready for anything. It’s very easy to find a fault and make excuses. It’s a lot harder to be kind to yourself, embrace your strengths and just go for it. Show your skills to the world. All while being unabashed about showing your growth from weakness, especially in a world that is full of manufactured perfection.
As creatives, we fear that our work won’t receive the exposure or credit we think it rightly deserves. But sometimes we forget that there is always somebody guaranteed to see it. That somebody is you. If others see it as well, then even better. But exposure shouldn’t be the be all and end all.
And if somebody reading this (or any of my other works) is inspired to take action on their own ideas, wouldn’t that make this all worth it? I think so.