Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “Who am I to do that?” I have. And that horrible voice (remember the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee?) has been more vocal lately as I get closer to self-employment. I’ve come to believe that the best way to respond to that negative thought is to turn it around and use it as a prompt to dig deep and answer that inner IBSC with all the reasons why I am someone who can do that! (I’m not saying that’s easy, sometimes it helps to have a friend or significant other who can help remind you of your strengths, then make a list to refer back to later.) It’s starting to seem like every time I knock down one road block of fear or self-doubt another comes up so, I have a feeling this will be an ongoing process but, I’m also hopeful that it will get easier with practice.
What triggered me most recently was coming across an article written by a blogger whom I respect and also happen to know personally. She was lamenting that “everyone is a writer” these days. I know she wasn’t talking about me (I don’t even think she knows I’m entering the world of freelance copywriting yet) but it hit me hard, right in the soft spot of one of my biggest insecurities: who am I to all of a sudden call myself a writer?! Then it pin-balled around in my mind and lit up a few other sore spots of self-doubt and insecurity so I really had to sit and think on that for a while….
So here’s the thing: I am a writer! I’m writing right now. I’m communicating my thoughts to others through the written word. And I’ve been writing professionally as one aspect of my job for nearly a decade. Of course there are varying degrees of “writer”, from a child making their first journal entry to a seasoned author putting the finishing touches on their next best-seller, with many many variations in between. I fall somewhere on that spectrum, hopefully somewhat closer to the latter. And the fact is that there are never too many writers! Each story is different, even if it’s essentially the same at the core, because everyone has a unique perspective that affects their telling of the story; each version would be slightly different according to the teller. And not everyone tells a story through the same means either: some tell it visually, through paint, clay or photography… others audibly, through music, song or spoken word… chefs tell stories through their culinary creations… dancers dance… and those who express themselves through the written word are writers.
I personally enjoy various forms of expression, I don’t think you need to limit yourself to only one form of art to identify with it. The way I see it, the more forms you try (and discover a passion for,) the more completely you’re able to communicate your message to the world. And why should I bother communicating my message to the world? Who am I to do that??… I am Me, with my own unique view of Life, just as you are You and You have a right to share how You see the world. Not only that, think about all the people who would be deprived of your personal gift if you kept it to yourself! I don’t say that to inflate your ego, in fact you might’ve just recoiled at the thought of possibly seeming egotistical for merely venturing to agree with me. I’m actually being quite serious and realistic. Just think about your favorite singer/songwriter, one whose words and melodies touch your soul… what if he or she had stopped before they ever really started, frozen by the thought of “who am I to share my songs with the world?” Extend that scenario to your other favorite artists: favorite author… favorite painter… favorite photographer… favorite director… favorite actor…favorite…??? The point is, it doesn’t matter how many have come before you, there are never too many artists. Even if it’s “been done before”, that doesn’t mean it’s been done the way that You would do it! You really never know what wonderful things may develop when you let yourself express through your favorite means so, tell your Itty Bitty Shitty Committee to kindly stfu and then do your thing! 🙂
P.S. – If you have any stories of overcoming self-doubt, I’d love to hear how you did it! We’re all in this together and the more tips and tricks we share the better. And if you’re an artist, feel free to tell us all a little bit about your favorite art form and how you use it to communicate your personal story. Links to your work are welcome in the comments of this post. <3