I love writing. I enjoy starting conversations and building communities and lifting other people up. I have known for a long time that, one way or another, using my words to influence people was somehow going to fit into whatever career path I found myself following.
I do not love the way writers are often treated. I have worked with, and hope to continue working with, many wonderful, passionate, enthusiastic, down-to-earth people – those who do the best they can to create a partnership, using their writers as valuable team members. I have also worked with many people interested only in using my skills to their professional advantage for as low of a price as possible – and I am well aware that I am not the only one who has been treated as an easily replaceable mechanism.
We have to deal with enough disrespect in this profession – we already feel undervalued and under-appreciated too much of the time, doing what we’re trained to and actually, usually, enjoy doing. Don’t treat yourself the same way many other people are already treating you and what you have to offer. You deserve so much better than that.
Why? Because in a widely misunderstood sense of the term, you are unique. Meaning, you don’t write the same way another person does. You’re not always interested in writing about the exact same things. And even if you are, even if your niche is already oversaturated, you are able to create something that stands out – come at it from a completely different perspective than another writer might.
There are a lot of people who blog about writing, for example. But I like my no-nonsense, not-just-stating-the-obvious approach to the subject. It’s different. I don’t feel the need to hold my audience’s hand and tell them how they’re supposed to make things work. I’m here to push you off the edge and help you make writing happen on your own. That’s why this works. I wouldn’t keep doing this if I didn’t sincerely believe it’s an important perspective to share with the world.
You deserve self-praise. Because you know how hard you’re working, even if others don’t. You know how this makes you feel – you recognize that, without this project you’re working on, you just wouldn’t be the same person. You wouldn’t be YOU.
You’re going to come into contact with a lot of people over the years who just don’t care about you or your writing. It’s nothing personal – they’ll just have their own agendas, and if they’re not willing to pay you a reasonable compensation, if they’re not completely satisfied with what you’re delivering – heck, if they’re in a bad mood – they’ll have no problem passing you up for someone they think is better for them.
That doesn’t mean you’re not worthy. And if you go around basing your value on how many people pay attention to what you’re doing, you’re going to have a really hard time building up enough confidence to show the world what you can do.
It all starts with you, and your willingness to believe that even if you’re not the best at what you’re doing now, with time, and hard work, you can improve. I don’t think hard work or discipline or resilience or anything required to succeed in writing is possible when self-doubt controls your every move.
There are days I feel like I’m an awful writer, and I get discouraged, and I question why I’m the only who cares about what I’m writing about. But I keep writing anyway, and those feelings and doubts subside. It’s a cycle. But the more you tell yourself your goals aren’t worth the effort, the less likely you are to ever reach them.
I know it’s virtually impossible to change your perspective, if you’re already sitting there convinced you can’t or shouldn’t keep trying. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. I know what it’s like to feel like all this doesn’t matter – which is why I’m constantly here pushing you to work on this, to keep writing, to stop worrying so much about other people. I sound like a broken record because people’s brains feed off of repetition. Until people start listening, I can’t stop spreading the word.
Whatever it is you like to write about, just keep going at it. It does matter. If it matters to you, that will become obvious to those who read it. That’s really all there is to it. You’re worth the effort.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-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.