Yesterday, scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw a health expert, who I’ve followed for a few years now, post an article she had written and shared with her audience.
This caught my eye because I had written an article on the exact same subject with almost an identical title not even a week before. Seeing how much praise and attention the expert’s post got, while mine didn’t get any – it brought back those feelings of insignificance and failure I – yes, even I – have worked so hard to destroy over the past two years.
I’m over it now, obviously. But I think we encounter situations like this more often than we care to admit. You work so hard to create something good, and it goes virtually unnoticed while someone with more money, more experience, more resources and a bigger audience does something similar and makes you feel invisible. They’re not doing it on purpose. They’re just doing, literally, what they do best.
But it still seems unfair.
It’s important to remember, first of all, that every ‘expert’ out there doing what you’re trying to do has been where you are before. They started with nothing – no followers, no credibility – nothing. Over time, they worked their way up to the place they hold now. You’re not always going to know every single person’s backstory – but always keep in mind there is one, and many times, it will sound a lot like yours. You’re broke, you hate your job, you’re struggling to turn your side project into something bigger (okay, not ALL of you, but you get the idea). You’re either going to make it or you’re not. But there is only one way to absolutely guarantee you never will – and that’s deciding not to try.
The best advice I have for you is to embrace these feelings of unimportance. Take this time to work on getting better, and figure out your niche, your style, the kind of audience you want. It doesn’t feel good to feel small. But it’s important that you have faith in yourself and in the future, regardless of the possible outcomes. Faith will never hurt you. Disappointment will string – but that’s what you sign up for when you decide you want to create original work for other people to consume. This is how it goes. There will be moments you feel like you don’t matter. But I like to believe there will be moments you feel like you do matter, too.
So you’re here, in the shadows. It’s a tired and lonely place to be. But it’s not your forever home. There are bigger and better things still to come. You can’t see them, but they’re coming. I promise.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.