For all intents and purposes, I consider myself a freelance writer. Since I don't work for any specific company or under any type of boss, it's me, myself and I hoping to succeed and present my words to the universe. Just me against the world.
Earlier in my life, I wrote mostly for myself and for school assignments. My self-esteem regarding my writing was low, and I was afraid to attempt to publicly release my work even though I'd been told by others -- including teachers -- that I possessed talent.
I never wrote any real, heavy-duty college essays, although now I think I could have hit the right mix of words and topics out of the park. At the very least, I should have tried. My SAT scores were low enough that I needed that extra bump when applying to colleges.
Fear and insecurity, though, held me back from reaching my goals.
However, now that I'm pushing 40, I decided to forge ahead and be a writer. My attitude changed, and now I'm less afraid to promote my writing. (I admit there are some pieces I've kept under wraps for varied reasons.)
Even if it's somewhat dreadful, dull or otherwise offensive, I will promote myself with a small amount of doubt because I can't afford not to do so. There's no room for regret when life is short, so therefore I feel no shame in my game when promoting myself.
Image: Susanne Nilsson via Flickr
Who Else Will?
I don't have an agent, so I'm my own agent. Maybe if I were attracting million dollar offers, things would change, but for now, I don't know that anyone else would represent me for anything.
Plus it's sort of crass to ask friends and family to share articles you wrote via social media, through e-mail or by posting flyers in your local supermarket (unless they volunteer). The only one who may offer those publicity services would be my mom. Do you think she's for hire even though she's retired?I Believe in Myself
Maybe this sounds arrogant, but I like my writing and feel good about it. Writing feels so comfortable a pursuit even when I struggle. I enjoy it and know I need to give it TLC and trust that if I have talent, my work will speak for itself.
So I'm confident in my abilities and intend to maintain that I am a good writer and deserve to be read. Time will tell if others believe it to be true as well. And, really, if you don't believe in yourself, no one will. Here's a quote from an unlikely source that accurately expresses this:
"It just takes faith and belief in yourself, and you've got to dig deep into that. That has to come from you – nobody's going to give you that. You can have a great mentor, a great partner, a great love in your life who gives you confidence and makes you feel great about yourself. And that's all wonderful, but at the end of the day, if you don't believe it, all of that means nothing." — Jennifer LopezI Know My Product Best
What I write, I know. I'm familiar with my style, know what my strengths and most of my weaknesses are, and think I know what I'm trying to achieve when I produce some writing. Once I finish an essay, it may require editing or fresh eyes for feedback, but I usually recognize my aim and hope others will realize it, too.
Although I'm open to suggestions, I do know the nooks and crannies of my writing even if I'm not quite sure how I reached the point of completion. My writing feels as familiar to me as an old friend, so why wouldn't I know it best?In Order to Achieve My Goals, I Need to Be Confident & Put Myself Out There
How many times have you fantasized about doing something but couldn't screw up the courage to just do it? Well, unfortunately, dreams simply aren't handed out arbitrarily – you must strive for them and not care what others think or what preconceived notions they possess about you.
If you have something to offer, no matter how insignificant, take a chance, push yourself through the crowd, stand tall and show your talent off to the world.
Being an introvert and uncomfortable around strangers, I've found this challenging, but I decided that if I don't at least try to exude confidence and publish my writing on a public forum, no one will ever know it exists. Sure, if you attempt something out of your comfort zone, you risk failing, but you also risk succeeding. Which is worse?I Need to Deal with Rejection, Low Traffic, Dislike, & Develop Thick Skin
Not every person will like or use/peruse your products. Not everyone will read what I've written or care about what I have to say. They may even hate it! We're all human, but we come from different backgrounds, lifestyles and hold diverse opinions, so why would everyone like what you offer and/or become your greatest fans?
I respect that someone may disagree with or despise what I've said or written, deeming it bad – of course, my sensitive hackles may be raised; an angry tear shed – but I cannot force anyone to read and like what I write.
My family and friends support my writing endeavors, but I cannot claim that they read most of what I write. A while ago, I read in The New Yorker that famous and critically acclaimed writer Joyce Carol Oates and her husband, also a writer, never read each other's work which totally resonated with me.
So I must develop a thick skin and endure any low traffic I gain, negative comments which can be hard to hear and even loved ones casually saying, "Oh, I didn't read it."
They're not rejecting you or your work, which may not be their cup of tea. They still love you, and as long as they support you, it doesn't matter. With thick skin and a reasonable attitude, this should not deflate your confidence or destroy your ability to create and promote yourself.
So go for it! Be your own champion! Believe in yourself or no one else will.
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