The risks we writers have to take to succeed

This week I have an interview for a job as the editor of a magazine website. I know the job inside and out, I love this magazine, and I’m passionate about being a part of a team to strengthen this particular website. And yet, I have probably talked myself out of this job at least two dozen times. The disqualifiers I have told myself include:

I’m not educated enough.

The other candidates are likely way more qualified than I am.

I may not be able handle the pressure of this job.

I better not get my hopes up, because I probably won’t get it.

What am I doing? I’m projecting my defeat before I even plead my case about why I am perfect for this position. Why would someone hire a person who can’t even believe in themselves?

Oak Tree in Winter

I mention this here because I know I’m not alone in having a defeatist attitude in the face of opportunity. As writers, we risk rejection every single day. We risk someone disliking what we’ve written. We risk someone leaving a bad review on our book. We risk our marketing efforts being ignored. We risk looking dumb or being laughed at or being looked down upon.

What makes this so scary is the fact that a piece of our soul is in what we have written. So when someone rejects our writing, it feels like they are rejecting us. And so, the natural tendency is to keep quiet about our writing, to avoid public speaking about our book, to do anything where we can remain behind the curtain and just pray that someone will come across our writing and spread the word for us.

But the truth is, that’s not going to happen. The only way our writing will be noticed is if we are the ones who put it out there for the world to see. We have to risk failure. We have to risk rejection. We have to risk looking stupid. Most of all, we have to believe in ourselves. If we don’t, we will miss the opportunity to shine, to be discovered, to fulfill our dreams as writers.

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of computer company, Dell Inc., once said, “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.”

If you love something, if you focus your energy on learning the ins and outs of this thing—be it writing or a new job opportunity—and if you believe in it and yourself, you (and I) are qualified. You may even fail at times. But rest assured, it’s only a stepping stone on the road toward success. ♥


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