On embracing your own journey, and how freakin’ difficult that can be
Listening to: Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
Brace yourself if you're reading. I am going to be vulnerably honest in this post. There are things bouncing around in my head, and I know I'm not alone, but it still feels like I am at times. So here it goes...
My day job is in digital marketing. I love it. I have fun doing it. I am very good at it, and that’s not a humble brag. It’s just the truth. I’ve been in the industry for a decade and a half, worked my ass off to be where I am, and still work crazy hard running my own team and practice at my agency. I’ve spoken at client summits, on conference panels, trained internal and external teams. You get the idea.
That hardest thing for me is to reconcile is that I live two lives, one as a successful businesswoman and one as a struggling-to-be-successful writer. As much as I love this digital world because I work in it for my day job, it also has a negative effect on my self-confidence as an author. News is more instantaneous now, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and all the other social platforms. People share their thoughts on the fly, and likes and retweets become the bases for whether or not anyone really cares what you have to say. I look at other writers, those who are my friends, those I admire, even those on the same agent team as me, and it can really slam my confidence when I see how much they engage with others in the industry.
At times, it feels like a popularity contest. Who tweets the most, who gets more followers, all of that. It’s so freakin’ hard not to look at what others are doing and think, “Should I be doing that too? Tweeting or posting to IG every day? “ “Is this what is expected to build your author brand nowadays?” Or the inevitable “How the heck do those people have time for that when I barely have enough time to work and write?” But honestly, I don’t have a moment to spare as it is. My day job takes up the bulk of my daylight hours, and writing is my night job. My weekend job. My anytime-I-have-a-spare-moment job. In essence, I work two jobs, and I do it because I love them both, I have to pay bills, but I can’t live without writing. There are a lot of other authors like this, I know I am not alone. I have to write. I couldn’t imagine not, I have been doing it since I was a child. It is as an important part of myself.
This is all on top of my personal relationships, which are as valuable to me as any of the work I do. It’s a balancing act, and one I still struggle with. Sometimes I think I am an utter failure at everything, but most of the time I am okay with myself and what works for me. I can only be my best self, in this moment, this breath.
So, what do I do about reconciling the two halves of myself? First, I compartmentalize my energies, focusing on my day job when I am there, and my writing when I am home. I don’t participate in the same manner that others do on social platforms, and I have to remind myself that this is the best for me personally, and that everyone is different. I tweet and Instagram when I have something I really want to share, usually a snippet from my WIP, my dog, or whatever travel adventure I am on. I retweet in support of other authors and causes I’m vocal about. I am only myself. And myself does the best she can with the time she has, and would rather devote myself to writing when I can. I try to not compare myself to other writers and where they are in their career, where I am not. I try to look at only at where I want to be and how I can continue improving my craft to get there. But I’m not going to lie, it is hard. At times, agonizingly hard. But I push through. I have to. There’s not any other option.
I love writing too much.