Can I be honest about a struggle I have with this writing life? Because recently I went from typing happily to realizing my forehead was flat on the desk.
It went like this. My agent asked me to write up a book proposal for an idea I’ve been toying around with for a long time. She sent me a template to use, and this template was a book proposal recently written by a very popular author for a book the author proposed to write. I’ve been working on my proposal for the last week or so, off and on, going back and forth from this author’s template to my own proposal. I wrote the summary, the bio, and the chapter-by-chapter synopsis.
At one point during the chapter synopsis, I started to get really excited about the book. The chapters felt compelling, the narrative smooth and intriguing and fun. This could be good, I thought. This might just work.
That is the typing happily part.
Then I got to the part in the proposal about platform – you know, how many Facebook fans, how many people read my blog on a daily basis, how many Twitter followers. That kind of thing. But the problem was that I was using this other writer’s book proposal as a template, so I got to see her platform. Her numbers. Her following.
It was probably twenty times bigger than mine. This is the part when my forehead hit the desk.
You know the flubbery, spitting sound a balloon makes when you blow it up but release it before tying it off? That’s basically what happened to me when I saw those towering platform numbers. How can I ever compare to that? What publisher would ever want to publish my book when that author’s numbers are so much higher than mine?
I love writing. I’m a decent writer. I’m so far behind where I should be. I suck.
That was the basic progression.
* * * * *
I’ve learned something, though. At this point in my life, when I start to feel that frantic, chaotic voice invading my head space, I know what to do.
Sit in silence.
Go down deeper.
You know what I heard in that silence? The first thing was that comparing myself to any other writer is silliness, a fruitless exercise. I am who I am. I write what I write. I have the audience I have. And, today, that’s good enough. What a relief.
Then, a second thought – when I bemoan my own platform, I’m saying that you guys, my readers, aren’t important enough. When I give into this thinking that my audience isn’t big enough, it’s like I’m wishing you all away for a different crowd. And I wouldn’t do that. I love the crowd I write for. I’m honored that you folks show up and read these words. Sometimes I can’t believe how many there are of you.
Thank you so much for doing that.
* * * * *
All of this to say one thing: the work that each of us is doing is enough. Keep going, friend! Do what’s in front of you to do. No comparisons allowed. One more step. Then another. We’ll get to the top of the mountain soon enough.