I happen to know a lot of writers. Some traits can be smelt (detected) a mile away, and one of them is passion. One other “sniffable” trait? Insecurity. I have attempted to piece together reasons for this state of insecurity, and one reason which comes up frequently is rejection.
There is something immensely creative about writing, it is like a part of you, and so if you experience rejection as a writer, you are wont to think your brainchild, in fact, your entire being has been rejected. At least, that’s how it feels like. I know that feeling all too well because every writer will have critics and those who don’t deeply resonate with what you’ve written- and that’s fine. You have your own tribe, as well as those who don’t belong to your tribe and the earlier you realize that, the better for your writing career; and your person in general.
For a couple of writers, this insecurity makes them unable to push further in their writing and get better at it. It could stop them mid-plot or pounce on them in moments of writers’ block or when someone sends word that they aren’t pleased with what this writer has so beautifully penned down.
It occurs as you write dozens of test articles and you don’t get called upon for the job you’ve been expectant about. It happens when you read someone else’s work and you’re like “Will I ever be this good?” With this mentality, self-sabotage isn’t far away and you soon begin to disqualify for opportunities that you deserve, all in the name of the possibility of failure. It happens, but what’s the key here? Persistent sharpening of your skills and ultimately, never giving up.
The writer of Harry Potter’s series wasn’t a happy writer for a long time. J.K Rowlings was rejected severally before she finally got accepted into the published writers’ hall of fame where she beat many of those who were there before her.
What distinguishes someone like her from another who dies unpublished or who gave up on writing totally?
You might cite being an African living in Africa as one of the things that has made you have less opportunities but hey, how about the fact that the internet has equalized us? Searching for freelance jobs can further dampen your morale, especially when it seems like the jobs are slow in coming. On such days, I know that I need further reassurance so I keep pushing and believing that I’d hit the mark i.e. land a good gig. The important thing is not to stop searching for opportunities, even when it seems like giving up is all that you can do. You could also further increase your chances of getting good gigs by doing the uncommon e.g. writing a stellar PowerPoint Pitch that’s too beautiful to be over looked, having a killer resume and sending several marketing mails to those who stand the chance of needing your service. You might not have hit it yet, but you sure will!
I heard someone talk about the difference between perseverance and stubbornness. Perseverance means that you keep doing what you’re doing, but you understand that you’ll have to make necessary adjustments; and so you willingly make those adjustments in line with your goals; because if you already knew how to get there, you’d already be there right?
Stubbornness on the other hand is the assumption that you know all there is to know and as such, you don’t have to make any changes along the way. A stubborn individual will not get far in any endeavor; especially not in a creative industry such as writing. You might be making some mistakes in how you pitch, or you might still need to fine tune your writing voice. The common thread is that you will have to make some changes, but it shouldn’t make you feel terrible about yourself. Why should a primary school pupil feel bad because he cannot handle post-graduate curriculum? (See the correlation?) Taking baby steps isn’t wrong, provided you keep taking them you’ll get somewhere awesome soon.
You shouldn’t be insecure about your writing because opportunity comes to everyone who’d look closely and perseverance can always be developed. There is always room to improve your craft, better things to be done, lessons to be picked from other people, a life to be lived through the words weaving a web in your heart. Don’t forget that writing makes you immortal.
This is for the insecure- you shouldn’t be so self-doubting. Forgive yourself for failing where you have, and move on with courage. As always, I’m rooting for you.