Recently a fellow writing friend said something that really threw me off guard, and challenged me to look at myself, my aspirations and my own self doubts. We were discussing publishing, and I was (once again) struggling with decisions about my novel: how to publish, what direction to go in, whether my novel is ready—whether I am ready, for success or failure. Both are scary. She said to me: “You’re already a published writer. You write and publish a blog every week, and people read it.” Well, it’s just a blog, I countered. “Just a blog?” she smiled. “You write things each week about your life, things you see in the world, news—all kinds of things, and people choose to read what you write, week after week. It’s really no different than being published in a news paper or magazine, right?” I stumbled on her logic, and found myself denying the validity of this point. My own self doubt causes me to belittle my accomplishments. I deny the successes; I don’t own the gold stars, I earned.
Then, this morning I was reading a post by the blogger Le Clown (at A Clown on Fire), and I found myself saying the same thing to him with no doubt what so ever. Whoa! I felt my own hypocrisy, even as I hit reply. A week earlier, I was challenging those very same words of encouragement, when they were directed at me. Then, I was saying it with total sincerity to someone else, who I think is very talented, and for whom I believe it is true. It suddenly made complete sense from the perspective of someone else’s (Le Clown’s/ Eric’s) writing, someone else’s success. It’s always interesting to me, how easy I give that away. Monsieur Le Clown made that very point in his response.
However, even as I sent my thoughts to him, it hit me that if I believe that for him, I should believe it for myself as well. Right? For a moment, I got it. I saw myself post that response, and sat with the fact that I’m Teflon when it comes to believing the same accolades for myself. My own dreams, the things I want so badly, slide away when I don’t own my strengths, and that has to change.
Today, I saw myself hand something to someone else, that I have trouble holding in my own hands. It’s challenged me to see what’s in front of me and examine that truth. I am a writer. I love crafting written words and sending them out into the world. I worry about them; I struggle with them. I try to never rush the words, or force them. I bring them together to make something new; and, these stories, essays, vignettes, these revelations are my own, to share or keep to myself. The fact that others read these posts, that others share my words, is something that means a lot to me. When I read comments from people who say that my writing touched them, that my words made them feel or see something new, it’s a beautiful thing, and I feel proud of that. That some of those people keep reading is something that I’m proud of too, because I work hard at this blog. All of us who do this, work to make something that others will find interesting, that will resonate. We publish it (that is what the button I hit says, “Publish”) and we hope others will read it and appreciate the effort. We are writers, and to know our words is to know something about us as well.
I am a writer. I’ve written a novel. I don’t know what will come of it, but I’m proud of the effort. I write a blog and I work hard to make it my best effort each time. Today, I’m claiming the gold star and wearing it on my forehead.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section; I’d love to hear what you have to say.