Monday, January 19, 2015

Own Your Writer Status

Neil Gaiman said: "The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them. The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It's Impostor Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police.
In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don't know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn't consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don't have to make things up any more."

You ever get that feeling that maybe you are fraud? You feel like you are spouting garbage, and, really, what right do you have to write this stuff...whatever it is you are writing?

Have you ever had people say to you, "But you're not Stephen King" or "Ya, but you won't be able to write for a living." Or some other stupid crap like that? I have. Lots of times. Fortunately, I have more support than garbage, but I still hear it.

My rebuttal is: "Stephen King wasn't always 'the' Stephen King we know today." Nor was J.K. Rowling....or, any other well-known author.

So, what makes these authors different?
1) They own their writer status. They know this is what they want to do. They know that there is nothing else that they are more passionate about. They just know.
2) They believe in their work. They believe in what they are doing and they do it for themselves. They do it to express the story that is deep within wanting to burst out.
3) They never stop learning, growing and perfecting. They work it every single day, whether it is editing, plotting, researching, promoting, reading, or writing.
4) They don't care what others say because they know this feels right for them.
5) They aren't writing for fame and fortune. They are writing because it's who they are.

When you are faced with negativity, or other garbage, look deep inside and ask yourself this:
If I gave up writing right now, would I be happy with myself?

If the answer is yes, then you can easily move on to other things.

If the answer is no, then own your writer status. Keep working it. Take feedback from others with a grain of salt, and then work it some more. There is no end point on this writer's journey. You just keep evolving. Oh, ya, and have fun while you are working it. What's the point of doing it if it isn't fun?

Happy writing!

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