I’ll be the first to admit that I’m incredibly good at downplaying my own work as an artist. While I talk about it quite readily and openly here on my blog, I typically try to avoid discussing it with anyone in person. And when people try to bring it up in conversation, I am often quick to change the subject.
It’s not because I’m not interested in being known as an author. It’s not because I’m embarrassed about the idea of people knowing about my art. The truth is quite the opposite, in that I would love for everyone to know me as a writer. I like to pretend the accolades and back-patting and even the pride of friends doesn’t matter to me, but if I’m being completely honest (which is what I try to do here for you all), it’s probably one of the things I want most in this world.
So, obviously, then, the question is why would I be so unwilling to share my art with people in conversation when all I really want to do is to share my art with people?
And the only answer I have is that my confidence level is impossibly low.
While I’m incredibly proud of my work and honestly believe that it is at the very least on par with the majority of new books being put out in the print market, I still find myself stuck in my old insecure ways. Sure, I may love it, but why would that mean anyone else would?
And yes, I realize how stupid of a thought process that is. I have had countless people reach out to me just to tell me how much they loved my books. Friends, family, and strangers. I’ve actually made friends just because of people liking my work enough that they wanted to contact me to let me know. People I probably talk to more regularly than I do my actual friends nowadays.
I have, I guess you could call them, fans.
It may not be a huge fanbase and perhaps they aren’t exactly rabid for my next release, but there are more than a handful of people on this planet who will pick up and read my newest releases as soon as they are released.
And yet I still sit here feeling as though I’m bothering people simply by letting them know that I do this thing that’s pretty cool and that people actually like.
I mean, I’ve won awards. Not a ton, because I don’t actually, you know, put myself out there, but I have officially been told my stories are some of the best out there and yet I still feel almost embarrassed talking about them, because it’s one of those weird hobbies that I’m just not sure how to justify.
I was much more open with my movies when I was making them, which are terrible, than I am about my books, which are, by all accounts, pretty good.
And the really stupid thing about all of this is that although at this point my writing doesn’t account for much more than a hobby (if looking at time spent), even if I do get to include it in my taxes most years as additional employment, all I really want at this point in my life is for it to be my career.
And the worst part about all of this is that because I secretly harbor this want to be loved as an author, and am constantly afraid that my selling myself as one will simply be annoying for those around me, I’m actually really bad about finishing what I’m working on. Because I’m scared that each new story I put out there will finally out me as a fraud.
I have seven published books, two plays that have been performed in front of sold out audiences, three short stories in different anthologies, not to mention this blog which, at its peak, had people reaching out on the regular for sponsorships and the like, and I keep feeling as though at some point people are going to see me as a fake author.
Which, I know, is incredibly stupid.
I am an author. And I love being an author. And if there were one thing I could do with my life for the rest of my life, it would be exactly this: writing.
A few days ago I managed to set aside five hours simply for writing. And it was one of the best days of recent history. I mean, yeah, I’ve had tons of fun with my family and friends, but I came out of this day of writing feeling as though I had done some amazing work. And feeling accomplished. And feeling satisfied.
And yet, with all of this, I still feel as though calling myself an author is somehow a lie.
While at the same time, here you are, reading yet another blog post from me, meaning there’s something about the words I put to the page which is at least slightly better than the buzzfeed article you skipped past. I should take that to mean something.
And I do. This blog has been the one place where I’ve felt less like a fraud than anywhere else. And for that, I thank you.
And I love you.