Failure. Mistakes. Wrong choices. Three things that have probably given everyone cause for fear at some point in their lives, even if only in the form of butterflies or wobbly legs.
I'm about to start performing my new music live and those three things are definitely running through my mind at times. I'm not the most seasoned performer, it's only really recently that a lot of my friends found out that I sang and wrote songs. And so, even at the smallest practice gig like the one I've just done, as I'm being introduced, my heart starts pounding, my breathing gets faster, and I know my voice is likely to wobble at least for the first few lines of the song. I'm scared that I'll fail to impress people with my vocal and songwriting skills. I'm scared that I'll make mistakes and sing the wrong notes or lyrics, or even forget the lyrics all together (even though I wrote them). I'm scared that I've chosen the wrong songs.
I often wonder why this is. I know I can sing and write what I consider to be good songs but I still have this fear of messing up. Maybe it's because I'm singing my own songs that it's more nerve wracking. Anyone who writes in any form will know how personal words can be. At times you're telling your deepest feelings to the world and you may well be judged over them.
It's worse for me when I'm performing in front of people that I know and less so in front of strangers. Friends and family may know back stories, or may not know anything at all and be surprised by what I am saying. They may think a song is about them. I'm also going to see them tomorrow if I do forget those lyrics or sing out of key. On the other hand, if I mess up in front of strangers my embarrassment is going to be shorter lived as I won't ever see them again!
Despite all this, I don't think I've ever messed up massively and everyone has always been very nice about my performances. I'm hoping that the more I perform the more comfortable and natural it will become and I'll be less worried about people's opinions - not everyone is going to like my style. But at the moment, the fear is still there at the beginning and probably always will be to some extent.