The other day I asked a photographer how she has the confidence to carry a camera with her everywhere and photograph people. I will remember her answer for the rest of my life. “The important thing,” she says, “is not to let your shyness get in your way. The thing about photography is that it throws you into direct contact with life, and that can be scary at times, but if you want to do the photography you want to do, there is simply no way about it except to go out bravely and shoot.”

I picked up my guitar for the first time in a week and learned about time signatures and the F chord. I’m having trouble with this chord, but I know I’ll get better with practice. I know I won’t get anywhere if I’m afraid of failure. Is not all art a tribute to the artist’s battle with fear? A testament to their bravery?

I remember how much my fingers hurt when I first started playing my guitar. I also remember how badly my chords sounded. If I had stopped then, I never would’ve developed the callouses on my fingertips that made it easier to play, and I never would have experienced the joy of producing my own music. That, in itself, is an act of bravery I will always be grateful for.