When You Can’t Hack It As An Author

So this morning when I sat up in bed, I pulled a muscle between my shoulder blades. I probably slept wrong, or something, but this has happened to me before. I was literally in pain for four solid weeks. This time, it doesn’t feel as bad, but it’s still painful. I can’t move my head much. Bending over hurts. Even just sitting still hurts. I know from experience that nothing will help except time and rest. But, crap, I have things I have to get done! Oh, well. Pain or no pain, I’ll be writing today. I’m procrastinating at the moment, however, and just spent the last hour and a half browsing through blog links and reading things that make me feel like a terrible marketer, author, and person. You may be asking why, and I’ll tell you it’s because of noise. Constant noise on what we should be doing and not doing.

Elana Johnson wrote a really great post today about focusing on what you do well and letting yourself work productively because of it. After Elana’s post, I browsed around some other posts. There was one about how to write an effective blog post. There was one on how to use Twitter hashtags better. There was one on how often you should blog. The list goes on and on. Every post was effective and helpful, but after awhile, I started to panic.

I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING RIGHT!!!!!!

And this is why I don’t blog much anymore, why I avoid Twitter like the plague, and why I keep posting pictures on Facebook instead of actual status updates. I get into this spot where I feel like I’m doing everything wrong, people are judging me, or they’re annoyed I’m just trying to sell them something, or they think I’m full of myself, and on and on and on. And honestly, I think it’s because of all the posts out there telling me how to do things the right way. They all end up sounding like noise. If I don’t follow certain rules, my career will crumble before my eyes.

#1 – It’s a tough balance writing and selling a product so intimately tied with who you are.

#2 – It’s difficult figuring out what works for you and separating yourself from what everybody else says will work for you.

#3 – It takes a lot of courage to cut back on what feels absolutely necessary (social media) in order to take the time to work on what really matters — your writing.

#4 – It sucks feeling like you’ll never hack it, that you’ll never get to a place where you feel justified in the amount of time and energy you put into your work.

And because of all that, it’s so very, very easy to want to quit or disappear completely. Sometimes I wish I could delete everything I’ve ever put up online and just quietly slip away. But, yeah right. That would be the easy way to fix a problem that doesn’t even really exist. Instead, as Elana discussed in her post, it’s much better to focus on what you do well. So turn everything around and think of it all this way instead:

#1 – It’s an honor to write and sell a product so intimately tied with who you are. When you’re gone, your words — a part of YOU — will have outlasted your physical self.

#2 – It’s fun to find new ways to do things. Be unique. Blog how you want to blog, even if it doesn’t get you a million hits and followers, because nobody else can do it just like you.

#3 – The quiet, steady tortoise always finishes the race. Writing is hard. It should always come first in  your career, even if it feels like everyone else is racing on ahead of you in the social arena.

#4 – It’s exciting to feel like you’ll never hack it. Prove yourself wrong and just get out there and work hard. Be true to what you’ve decided to chase, and love that you get to do what you love to do. That, in itself, will justify it all.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

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