I generally get one of three reactions when people learn I’m an author:
1. Barely concealed disdain or the barely restrained urge to make a warding sign. I figure this is mostly because they haven’t heard of me. Therefore I’m a hack. These people generally only talk to me if they’re in desperate need to know where the bathroom is (and I always make sure I know the answer to that question).
2. Suprise. I sit behind a table full of books, an author sign behind me, and talk to people. Inevitably, they ask me what I’m doing. They’re always shocked when I explain I’m an author. The books and sign obviously aren’t obvious enough.
3. Nervousness and its running mate Awe
These two probably bother me more than the disdain. It’s almost like people think less of themselves next to me, and I hate nothing more than people who make others feel small and worthless (vestiges from being bullied as a child). I’ve asked many people why I make them nervous. They inevitably answer that it’s because I’m doing something super cool.
Trust me when I say I’m not. I have a talent, yes. But everyone does. My mother is an amazing gardener and quilter. My father a hardworking rancher. My talent isn’t worth more than theirs. People sometimes argue with me that because my talent is rarer, it’s more prized.
I don’t believe that.
What I do involves a lot of daydreaming, sitting in front of a computer until my back aches, and working long hours. I regularly fail – either I neglect my children, house, and husband or I’m neglecting my writing and running a business – which are easily three full-time jobs.
You can’t have it all. Not without losing your mind, and trust me, losing your mind isn’t worth it.
There are months when I struggle to find time to shower. My house is messier than I’d like. I used to make a lot of money, but I don’t anymore, which has been a huge blow for me. So many times, I’ve wanted to quit. So many times, I’ve felt like a failure. Like I should get a real job. One that actually pays the bills. That I’m wasting my time.
So no. Don’t stand in awe of me. It only makes me even more aware of all my glaring failures. Instead, know that I’m not better than you. Your worth is not diminished because my light shines differently. You have your own light, and the world needs it. Shine on.