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There was post by David Rory O’Neill entitled Empowered by Self-Publishing; Still Seeking Self-Worth earlier this week. What a sad, dismaying title. This author has written 13 novels, but still feels his self-worth is measured through comparison with other writers. The following is a quote from his final paragraph in his post:
I consider I have been successful artistically and I’m proud of the work I’ve produced, but that success is tainted by the feeling that until I break out of the lower reaches of obscurity I occupy on Amazon and Smashwords, then my success will always be incomplete – lacking the final thing that removes self-doubt.
Like it or not, meaningful sales numbers do count – if only as a measure of discovery.
He says he is proud of his artistic accomplishments, but needs validation to feel his work is worthwhile. It’s a treacherous trap when we compare ourselves to others.
We are gifted with unique, creative talents. It is that singularness that makes what we do special and impact positively upon others’ lives. We are often unaware of this influence, but it is real. If your novel takes a person out their world and erases their worries and troubles of the day for a time, you have enhanced someone’s life.
This week has been a struggle of self-doubt. I was rather tactlessly dumped from the music ministry at my church. I was told I wasn’t a “good fit”. Singing is my second passion after all things to do with words. I admit I cried for two days and swore I’d never open my voice again in public.
Once I was past the traumatic stage, I began to reflect. I’ve had two years of voice lessons, successfully auctioned as a Soprano1 in an a cappella choir, and received invitations to join other choirs. I’ve received compliments from individuals who have heard me sing. I know I’m not a rock star, but I have a nice voice.
Was I going to let this negative experience rip away a part of my self-identity? No. No one has the right to take away another’s dream – whatever that dream consists of. I attended a different church a few days later. They were excited I want to sing. I am at rehearsal at 4 today for this coming Sunday.
Self-doubt could have continued to dog me. I sample-edited a manuscript for an author. In return I received an abusive diatribe about my arrogance and ignorance. Instead of taking this person’s negative comments – with which he intended to crush me – to heart, I was instead thankful I didn’t end up working with him. What a nightmare that would have been!
Self-doubt can destroy our dreams – writing, art, singing, careers – only if we let it. It is important we examine our talents honestly. If you have an overwhelming belief you are gifted with words – or whatever – never, ever compare yourself or let someone else convince you that you don’t have what it takes.