So, you want to be a writer?
Who are you to think you can make it doing that?
At some point in your journey as a writer, freelancer, Youtuber, whatever… you’re likely to face that question whether it’s direct or indirect.
I can relate in more ways than one.
I dealt with this guy who would ask, “who are you?” to almost any decision I made that he didn’t like.
When I said, I don’t want to live with you, he said, who are you to not want to live with somebody?
When I said, I’m sick of this shit, he said, who are you to be sick of something?
And when I told him, “I’m done. I’m leaving, his response was who are you to be done with something, to try to leave somebody?
He used these questions to try to diminish me. He wanted me to feel like I was getting above myself by making my own decisions.
This tactic was normal business with him. And my answer was almost always the same: I’m not gonna tell you. I’m going to teach you by showing you.
And that’s the attitude I encourage you to have.
Justifying Your Choices
That guy I mentioned, his tactic sounds outrageous. It sounds like only an idiot would entertain those questions.
And a logically-thinking outsider can easily see that. But what’s obvious isn’t always so obvious when you’re the one involved.
A prime example is when you’re talking to people about what you do or plan to do.
Usually, people aren’t as outright in challenging you for your decisions. But when you make choices that don’t flow with the norms, like being a writer, a lot of people will question you indirectly.
Often it’ll come in the form of repeating what you just said.
You may say you’re going to be a blogger or start a podcast. And the person will convert it into a question, you’re going to be a blogger? You’re going to start a podcast?
In other words, the person is saying, I must not have heard you right. And if I did, how in the hell do you expect that to work?
However they’re formed, questions that call on you to justify your decisions can be detrimental.
The Danger in Justification
Just think, if I let that dude-from-the-past make me feel like I wasn’t worthy of making decisions about my life, he would have instantly tried to dominate me, and my plans would have become whatever he planned.
Likewise, if you let outsiders make you question whether you’re worthy, it can alter or change your course.
You may start questioning how you arrived at the conclusion that you’re qualified to be what you want to be.
You wanted to be a writer, but suddenly you’ll doubt that you have anything worthy of saying.
Even if you did, you’ll doubt you have the skills to say it, especially compared to all the other people who seem more qualified and skilled than you because they went to college, were featured in The New York Times, or appeared on a talk show.
You’ll get timid because you can’t point to a fan base or respected figures who recognize you as a writer.
You don’t have contracts or sponsors. You’re not raking in cash from your work.
And so the line of negative thinking goes.
Follow that train of thoughts and you’ll end up canceling yourself. I’m not really a writer. I can’t make a living doing this, you’ll start thinking.
This is self-doubt, my friends. It’s imposter syndrome. And no, you’re not the only one that has gone through it. A lot of people do. But it’s destructive if you don’t get a grip on it.
Be extremely careful about placing your decisions under review based on outsiders’ feedback, and their desire for justification.
As author Joyce Carol Oates said, the most destructive thing to writing is distraction. She was talking about interruptions affecting a writer’s creative flow, but her statement applies to decision-making too because entertaining challenges to your personal decisions is a major distraction.
So, to help you avoid wasting time with those distractions, let’s sort things out:
First, anyone who becomes anything has to start and follow through. Different people have different starting points, but everyone who is admired had a beginning followed by a lot of work.
So, for you to get where you want to go, you’re going to have to be a beginner and push forward. There’s no other way.
Being unknown doesn’t mean you’re not what you say you are. And being endorsed doesn’t make you anything other than a topic of discussion.
The only thing that can make you a writer is writing. The only way to be anything is to do it.
Don’t feed into commentary from people who aren’t qualified to give it. The people who don’t know anything about what you’re trying to do, should carry little to no weight in your decisions about doing it.
Wisemen don’t turn to fools for guidance.
And finally, there will never be anyone more worthy of making your decisions than you. It wasn’t intended for humans to dictate each other’s lives.
As an adult, there are few people that you need to justify yourself to. Before you let anyone make you feel like you need to answer for your choices, ask yourself what entitles that person to question your personal decisions?
And make sure you have a good answer.
Are You Brave Enough To Say I Am… Let’s talk about having the confidence to declare yourself a writer.