I think one of the hardest falls some writers experience is that sudden realization they’re not as great as they think they are.
As one who has won several trophies for this in my life, I feel eminently qualified to speak on this topic. I suppose a lot of my predicament was instilled in me at an early age.
Growing up, it was all about maintaining a positive attitude, how to grow from good to great. It was about how to be the best of the best of the best.
A lot of my earlier woes were instances when my father constantly reminded me there would always be someone out there who could do what I did better than me. And yet, my father drilled into me that anything I tried to do, I needed to go after it intending to win.
So let’s see. My father told me I was a loser because everybody did it better than me. And my father told me it was all about winning. Nothing else mattered.
I suppose that explains a lot, eh readers?
Instead of teaching me how to be humble, how to be gracious and kind, the life lessons handed to me by my dad spurred me to prove to myself and the world that my father was wrong.
To prove no one would do it better than me.
I simply wanted to be the best at something, at anything. I wanted to be the best the world had ever seen. I wanted to become a legend at something, a household name forever on everyone’s lips.
This desire to be the best, this prideful state became my driving passion for so many years.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t cover a bit of the true benefits of doing your best and having positivity in one’s endeavors.
There is certainly something to be said about being proud of one’s accomplishments. As Humans, a lot of us have relatively fragile egos, and we often need to feel like we’re actually making a positive dent in whatever undertaking we try.
We need to feel good about what we do when we do it, and how we got it done. It’s that satisfying sense of self-worth which helps us want to keep trying.
I believe we all should have positive, constructive attitudes of how we go about accomplishing our goals.
However, and it’s a big, however.
In my case, and in my much earlier years, I took self-positivity to an entirely different and somewhat destructive level. As a writer, I had somehow managed to convince myself my writing was the best there ever was.
How could I think any other way? To admit someone did it better than I did would mean I wasn’t the legend I had convinced myself I was.
Even though early in my career, I told myself I already had the blood of a legendary writer coursing through my veins. When I read other famous works from writers of noted legend status, I told myself, “I can do a better job.”
When I wrote, I knew what I was laying down was pretty d*amned good even for my high standards. I trained myself to believe no one could do it better than me.
I am here to tell you folks, it is entirely possible to secure yourself inside a bubble of your own making, and convince yourself you’re a writing legend.
In this protective bubble, there is nobody to tell you otherwise. It’s just you, your stellar writing (you think), and your visions of grandeur. The problem for one who feels like this (as I did until several years ago) is when you become so emboldened with the imagined greatness, you choose to share it with the world.
And that, as the old saying goes, is the moment your cookie crumbles.
Take it from me, one who has eaten his fair share of humble crow pie, at first you’ll be shocked, stunned into amazed disbelief when you suddenly realize nobody else thinks you’re as good as you do.
And when the moment comes, and you’re actually willing to accept that fact, you get slammed with another harsh reality that cuts you to the quick.
Not only does the world not buy into your genius, but they don’t even know who you are. Nor do they care to know you.
To the entire world, you’re just another No-name wannabe who scribbles inane thoughts down on paper. Another writer who believes they’re the next amazing legend everyone will wish to read and even better, meet in person.
Another legend in their own mind whose writing doesn’t even come close to supporting such insane beliefs.
I can honestly say, the fall from that imagined legendary platform is probably the most deadly and career crushing event which can happen to a writer.
Only the strong actually survive the initial impact with the harshness of this particular reality.
Only the humble will live to write again.
I’m not usually one to give advice when I write (yes I am), but I think I’ll take this opportunity to share something with you folks. Especially those of you who’ve just taken up the pen and want to make it in this writing gig of ours.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. There is always somebody out there who can write better than us.
Realizing and understanding this one tiny fact will go a long way in helping you throughout your career.
Adopting this understanding as part of your inner-core belief structure will promote a humble attitude toward your own work and your fellow writers.
You need to become and stay humble.
And you don’t always have to take a self-deprecating approach all the time. There are times during your career when you need a little self-congratulatory backslapping.
But through it all, you should be willing to honestly admit to yourself you’ve still got a lot of writing to get under your belt before you’ll ever be as good as some of the many tremendously great writers on this planet.
Doing this, believing it with all your mind and soul, will provide you a sense of humility as you begin to make those tough examinations of your own writing.
I’m not talking about comparison. The act of examining your work by comparing it to other writers. I’m speaking about looking at your writing from the bottom up instead of the top down.
I’m talking about chasing thoughts out of your head you’re a better writer than others when you’re not.
H*ll maybe you are better than other writers. Who knows for sure?
It shouldn’t be only you who knows that. It should be your readers who know it. It should be other writers who’ve read your work and know.
If you want to get anywhere with your writing career you can’t forge it in a protective bubble. You can’t trick yourself into believing you’re a legend when you’re not.
When it’s time, the world will let us know. Until then, we just need to keep writing and stay humble.
None of us are writing legends yet.
Thank You So Much For Reading
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