So, I’m reading a book right now that’s kicking my butt, and if you’re serious about writing, it might just be the butt-kicking you need too.
The book is called Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny, but it could probably be any book from that particular shelf, and even if it is that book you don’t have to be a woman to learn from it, because artist types tend to suffer from a lot of the same handicaps Stanny’s talking about here.
What are those handicaps?
Under-earning and low expectations. The mythology of the starving artist. The dramatized scorn for money. The difference between playing to win and just scraping by on playing not to lose.
Here’s the thing: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book or wandered through a bookstore and gotten so discouraged because I KNOW that I’m a better writer than exhibit A or B—and I swear it’s not pride. I know perfectly well that I’m not the next great marvel, either, but I know that I can do good work, I know that I’m disciplined, I know that I can plot and finish and revise a novel, I know I’m motivated.
But, I don’t know anything about business, and I’m scared of risk, and THAT, my friends, is what’s killing my career before it even starts. Not a lack of talent or drive.
And, it ticks me off!
Was reading along in one chapter where Stanny is talking about shying away from risks and self-sabotage, and I was all whiney, like I don’t do that! My problem is that the lucky chances never come my way in the first place!
Big. Fat. Lie.
When I started mentally listing all the writing or literary chances I’ve shied away from over the years, I was floored. I’ve turned down 3 jobs, lost two good writing gigs, and failed to take advantage of numerous networking opportunities.
For no good reason. That’s what kills me. Yes, absolutely, I want this career, but when I look at my actions, I sometimes wonder why they’re telling such a different story. I think each one of us has a cocktail of issues, but mine are definitely an assortment of fears, low self-worth, anxiety, insecurity.
I guess I never realized how profoundly my “private” issues have an impact on my “public” career. It’s sort of the reverse of the workaholic who never has time for his kids. We all need different awakenings. Not, of course, that I’m now aspiring to be a workaholic—nobody should be—but this book is giving me a lot of food for thought as I get serious about my commitment to my own career.
Life is short, you know?
Got to get a whole lot smarter about business, attitude, and beliefs, not just for my writing but for my own quality of life. Self-defeat is the most expensive thing in the world. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford it.