Writing is as self-defeating as it gets. It's an art and therefore it demands a level of openness and exposure. When we write (anything, from a poem to a novel, from a memoir to a newspaper column), we create a place into which we invite the reader. We ask the reader to leave behind hang-ups and preconceptions and step into that place. But this isn't easy. We KNOW that readers will come with hang-ups and preconceptions. The conflict that ensues generates much self-doubt and little confidence.
The key to tackle this dilemma is to always remember who we write for: for us. First and foremost it's us who we write for. I write the kind of pieces I like reading.