In My Words: The Lure of Legitimacy
Deal with rejection. (Repeat.)
Pitch a nonfiction book idea.
Gain an agent.
Become a magazine editor.
Try my hand at fiction. (Was I crazy?)
Land a fiction contract. (Can you say gobsmacked?)
I've accomplished many of my goals. Not all of them--but quite a few--and even a few that surprised me. Why, then, do I still struggle with feeling less than legitimate? When will I stop striving? It would be oh-so-nice to look at my resume and say, "Enough."
The writing life is one of measurements. Are you published? Where? Did you get a byline on that magazine piece? Were you paid in dollars or author copies? How many articles have you written? Dozens? Hundreds? How many books? Been on TV? Radio? How many people do you speak to on a regular basis? How may people follow your blog? Your tweets? Your Facebook comments?
I can always peer ahead and see others who are bigger "names" than me. Focusing on who they are and who I'm not undermines my confidence. I can also look back and find at least one someone who's not as far along the writing road as me. That makes me feel better.
What a way to live.
Why do I write? To prove something? Yes, sometimes I'm trying to prove something. To myself. To those voices in my head questioning my value. To whoever is watching me, evaluating me, and finding me wanting.
But before I ever put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, I should know that I know that I know that I have inestimable value. Why?
Not because I say so.
Not because you say so.
Not because a reader or reviewer says so.
Not because a publisher or editor says so.
I have value--legitimacy--because my Creator loves me. It's as simple--and as difficult to grasp--as that. He made me in his image. He has plans for my life--and those plans include writing. He also knew writing is a tough-on-the-ego pursuit when he fashioned within me a writer's heart.
Here's the conclusion: What are you setting your sights on: your goals or your worth? Goals come and go. Some you hit. Some you miss. Value, when you realize what you're worth in your Creator's eyes--that's constant.