Just like one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy, one fail doesn’t make you a failure.
The main reason I failed commercially as a writer, was because I was scared to show (and sell) my work. It’s quite hard to sell work that isn’t viewed, but I’d convince myself to keep writing in the faint hope that someone, one day, would give me call and let know that they would like to publish my work, pay me a huge sum of bucks and save me from myself.
I now know that writing more short content was actually active procrastination to avoid publishing, writing for others or creating a blog. Deep down I knew these were the most important tasks. I had created enough work, and I knew I needed bloggers, readers and media to get my work seen and bought.
So why did I avoid this and fill my computer with very many new pieces of text that weren’t selling just as much as my existing portfolio? Because I was unconsciously protecting my self-worth.
Creating content for someone to consume was painful for me. For someone to even look at my work, it was like they were critiquing my flawed, naked soul. I couldn’t even be in the same room as someone reading my pieces, in case they didn’t like them. I was so sensitive that, unless they gushed over my work, I assumed they hated it but didn’t want to tell me. I wouldn’t believe them if they said they liked it. I could not separate the identity of me from the critique of my work. I felt like I was being judged; my very being and nature exposed to be chewed up and spat out. So in 2014 I signed up to become a Ghost Blogger — to write blog content and articles for other people to pretend it was their work. I sad back and watched how people critiqued and commented on (not) my work. I hid behind the curtain like my 3 year old son who hides under the tables when he poops himself.
You are not your work, just like I was not my writing, my creations. My work was an expression of an idea, and your task list is simply a list of actions that get done or don’t get done. A job done badly or not at all doesn’t define who you are, just like someone critiquing my writing doesn’t make me a failed human being.
I was so hard on myself. I was my harshest critic of all, but I couldn’t see it. I was so protective of my self-worth that I avoided doing anything that could damage it, including basic socializing. The sad irony is the very protection I hid behind was damaging me the most.
Go easy on yourself. Be nice to you. You are worth it. You will succeed sometimes, and fail others, but there’s no doubt at all that you are amazing, even if your last piece of work was shit! Let your critics be the critics, and you be kind to you.
Have a clear wall of defense between you and your work. The world can judge your work, but that does not define who you are. You are capable of decisiveness, clarity and greatness.
Yes, sure! Go ahead and share this with your friends. You may be helping out someone overcome this problem. Perhaps a colleague or employee?!