This past week I’ve struggled with a time I know all of us face. A lack of hope, a burden of nothing but ourselves. Sounds familiar?
Lately I have felt my confidence fall to the wayside, not because of anyone or any particular reason. The real enemy has been myself. I’ve been seeking to learn how to be a better writer, a better business woman if you will. Because all writers are their own business workers. And most of us, while we have a small nucleus of helpers and teachers and friends along the way, are left to our own devices. It is up to us to make a difference, to live up to the expectations and to keep pushing ourselves harder.
In my effort to find this drive and momentum, I feel like I lost a piece of myself along the way. And I think that it is largely due to the fact that I’ve been thinking of this too much like a business. I’ve been trying to take myself too seriously. When the truth is, I write books because I love it. Not to make a fortune, though I wouldn’t turn it away 😉 but because I’m miserable when I’m not writing. For so long I’ve focused solely on writing for the pleasure of it, while seeking to better myself in little ways. And I’ve learned so much just by reading other Indie authors, by looking into other author’s journeys.
But I can’t help looking at my acquaintances and friends and thinking sometimes, am I not doing enough? Is there some secret I don’t know? Is it even worth it? It’s the same dilema I discovered in college. I was an art major, because I loved it, and art has always been a talent that came easiest to me. I loved finding new ways to express it in drawing. And I shuddered every day in design class when I was forced to cut up pieces of construction paper.
I loved the freedom and not so much the structure. I loved how my college courses pushed me to create more and more pieces than I ever had in high school. I found I could do more and be better than I ever expected to be and I loved that. I loved learning.
But somewhere around my second semester I began to have my doubts. My friends were also very good in different ways. And some of them were very good. You know who I’m talking about, the ones who seem to whip out masterpieces with very little effort. And I made the mistake of letting myself be inadequate. I thought that I might never be as good. The worst problem was that I knew I couldn’t make a viable living just off of art, unless I wanted to be a teacher. I wasn’t convinced I had what it takes. So I quit.
I wish so much that I had stuck with it. Because I learned a few years later, when I wasn’t under the same pressures, that being around other talented artists made me better. It made me strive to be better than status quot.
There is a universal truth about art that a lot of artists forget. Art is what you make of it. And therein lies its beauty. While it’s obvious between a piece of little effort and great effort, you can’t always judge a piece by its cover. Something simple could take longer than what seems to be an elaborate masterpiece.
A few years ago, I let my self doubts rule my head. But I won’t let it happen this time. As hard as the journey has been at times, I will keep on striving. And I encourage you to do the same. Don’t give up because you trip and stumble along the way, because you feel inadequate or lost. If we keep going we will eventually find our way.