As writers, we anticipate failure at every turn. We drink it, bathe in it, chew it like Beef Jerky, and swallow it like 80% bitter cacao chocolate, grimacing the whole time. We live on it like coffee addicts. It keeps us from getting big heads when things are finally starting to go right and make us dig deep inside ourselves to find a third, fourth, tenth reservoir of energy to keep going. Failure breaths down our necks and whispers self-doubt into our ears like it’s a second language.
Wanna know a secret? We are actually the bravest and strongest people in the world. All it takes is the press of a button from a random stranger to realize it.
Hello my friends, followers, and fellow writers. This blog post is dedicated to you.
Yes I know it seems presumptuous to do a “Thank you for your support!” blurb when I only have 10 followers, have barely finished a first draft of a novel, and nobody in my family actually KNOWS this blog exists.
Kinnnddaaaa sounds like I’m jumping the gun a little eh? Well, perhaps I am but there’s nothing wrong with saying “thank you”. My mama taught me right! More than that though it is an extremely heart felt THANK YOU. Truly. Words on paper cannot do the feeling justice. Even the most eloquent novelists struggle to write their Thank You’s with anything close to the depth of gratitude they feel on the inside. It never hurts to try though. Again and again and again.
You know, I actually got irritated with authors that put a lengthy “thank you” section in their book. What a waste of perfectly good paper! They thank editors, writing teams, agents and family and last but never least, the fans of their work. To us, the readers, it’s a bunch of names and gushy emotional crap. Eh. Who cares? Get on with it!
I didn’t really get it until I started this blog on WordPress. I started it to connect to other people and to write on a schedule and document my journey as an author. I never expected anything to happen with it at all. I had very low expectations so I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Wow was I surprised. Like, expecting an F on a math test and getting a B instead. Wait, WHAAAAATTTTTT????? <–*Said in a high-pitched shocked Pinkie Pie voice*
It was a pleasurable shock to see my very first follower. I didn’t actually leap out of my chair and dance around the room. But in my mind I did. I didn’t tell the first person I saw and scream it at them. (I did when I reached 5 followers though 😀 My poor husband was so confused.) It was a pretty big “I don’t actually suck!” moment. A milestone. Or maybe the first step. I dunno but I was happy. It was a compliment I didn’t expect to get and I realized that maybe I was doing something right.
Huh. Well I’ll be damned. Let’s toast! *raises a Fireball shot to myself* “Here’s to not completely sucking!”
It’s such a small thing to press the “FOLLOW” button or the “LIKE” button here on WordPress. I’ve done it. I’ve commented on articles that moved me and given encouragement. It costs me nothing to do and I get to read a great article while giving someone a pat on the back. Everybody wins! Being on the other side of that though; being the one who GETS that like or follow, I understand now what a boost that gives. Especially being new to blogging and completely unsure what the rules are or what my voice is, seeing that little orange dot in my notification make my heart warm with gratitude.
Someone stopped browsing to read MY article. They enjoyed what they read enough to want to read MORE. HOLY CRAP! How much more of a compliment can a complete stranger give to me? I can’t think of any. Really. Someone said I was good enough to write more. Someone said “I like this!”.
I’m not a complete failure.
I cried in the shower with an outpouring of gratitude and the sheer weight of realization that the voice whispering in my ear was WRONG. (Yes, I’m a huge sloppy sap.) More than that, I’m a writer that someone wanted to read. I’m not crap. I ‘m not a complete failure. My world has suddenly shifted and I’m off-balance. WOW.
How can years of self-doubt be shaken with one simple press of a button? you ask. Because we’re fragile. As fragile as a bubble in a garden of cacti. Artists at every stage in their careers NEED that boost. They need the justification to keep writing/ painting/ composing. We’re so HARD on ourselves about everything we do. Nothing is ever good enough for us and it’s hard sometimes to TAKE a compliment, even from our loved ones. For some reason though, at least for me, it took this blog to realize whet they’ve been telling me all along:
I’M NOT BAD AT WRITING!!
Never again will I take the “Acknowledgments” section in a book for granted. I understand now that the fans, ESPECIALLY the fans of a budding author, are the shaky foundation we build our career on. They are the ones we trust to give us the truest versions of our work, not blinded by love of the author or biased opinions.
Because of my humble little gathering of followers, I can believe that despite failure, frustration, table flips, and writers blocks, I’ll keep going. I’ll try to persevere in the face of “You’ll never do it” and “We’ve read all it before.” I’ll give an answer to “You dream too big” and “Give up before you get hurt”. I’ll become more that a writer; I’ll become an author. Because I have something to say and I want someone, even just ONE PERSON, to be inspired by my work and start their own journey. I want to share my thoughts and stories with other people and also indulge in THEIR work.
For now though, I want to say THANK YOU, deeply, truthfully, wholeheartedly, to those of you who stop by and read my blog. Even if you don’t like it, you still stopped to read. Thank you for giving me a chance. And THANK YOU to those who have liked and followed me. You’re my answer to the voice that is failure and my reason to keep going. That’s the best compliment I can give to YOU.
THANK YOU as well to Owen, my rock and bestie, to Lael, the sister I am so proud of and admire for our steadfast perseverance, to the man behind Cinjin Artworks who gave me my artistic start in life. To Becky-chan and Dion (AKA Kimmy) for reading and bringing me out of my own head when I’m in too deep. THANK YOU to my mom for being everything I lacked in my life and being a woman I’d happily emulate. THANK YOU to my husband for well…..everything else.