Okay full confession, “I’m a great big nobody and I’m okay with it!” is inspired from a Dear Polly that I read last year. This lady, hurtling toward 50, had some successes as an author—published books—but never broke through to the next level. She was thinking about giving up. Best line: “…if I read one more “follow your dreams” platitude from someone lucky enough to be picked by Oprah, I may go out of my gourd. I’ve been walking in the direction of my dreams for the past 20 years, and now I’m fucking stalled, scared, and frustrated.”
Dear Polly said: “Stop pressing your face to the glass of someone else’s party. Enjoy the party unfolding around you. She basically suggested this mantra “I AM AN OLD NOBODY AND I LOVE WHAT I DO.”
I get it. It’s hard to enjoy your “own party” since no one respects the average writer, not even the average writer, which is kind of weird since we all know everybody wants to be a writer. We all have dreams about what we want. We are all trying to do the best we can. Most of us are trying to do it without wounding our moral compass or harming our loved ones. I know the lady sitting across the table at the coffee house wants to be an author. I can read her notes.
I am an average American writer for this epoch. I have both self published and published novels. I have a couple of short stories published too. Weirdly, most people don’t think I am a success–including myself. Yet there are a few struggling authors who find me an object of envy. I’m cruising towards 40.
Around the same time I read this Dear Polly, I was flipping out about The Light Side of the Moon and my pal, Evan asked the most important question. “So how many books do you think you can write even if they only do as well as Other Systems?”
Damn his logic. The answer is/was at least a solid twenty. Then I realized: I won’t ever give up writing and art. I love this shit! Yes, I have goals. (Hell, I write a profit assessment for every project to do.) But no matter what happens, as long as I am able, I’m going to keep creating.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to a “success” the way other people mean it. Our society bases our worth on how much money we make. You must tell yourself, that you are okay with where ever you are in your career. I don’t need to worry about breaking through and neither do you, because that’s half luck anyway.
And if you don’t believe me or Dear Polly: Listen to Picard.
Want to be a writer? Here is some more great advice from Chuck Windig: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/02/21/25-things-i-want-to-say-to-so-called-aspiring-writers/