This was written as part of a discussion with the lovely Mandie Hines.
I think spectrums are everywhere, involving a great many things. When I started down this path of sharing my writing, I did it with the “fake it till you make it” idea in mind.
Outside of a few random pieces in high school and university, I’d never been published professionally before. But I wanted people to know I was serious about what I was doing. Yet, my confidence was very low. Showing that vulnerability wouldn’t quite be faking it, would it?
So I kept my head high and pushed through the anxiety that came with every post. Eventually, as I worked on my first novel, and my number of followers was growing, that anxiety eased. Eventually, it stopped. Several published (albeit free e-books only) books later, I feel I can safely say that I’m a writer now.
However, my confidence level hadn’t really changed much. Sure, I can see when people are just starting out, or if English isn’t their first language, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow and learn. And when people do approach me, often on Instagram DM, they ask for advice or help because they see me as an authority figure. Or that I’m famous. A household name. But I’m no Stephen King. Even he, a repeating member of the #1 New York Times Bestseller club, says he’s the “literary equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries.” If that’s true, I’m the moldy cheese underneath a toddler’s carseat in a minivan.
I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, and I certainly don’t put myself in the category of being pretentious. There are several writers on Instagram that share parody pieces that is not only meant to insult readers, but the writers with a similar style. I cannot stand it when people do this, and I’ve spoken out against it before a few times. Art is subjective and not everyone is going to love a writer’s work. The same goes for Stephen King. Or J.K. Rowling. I see no reason why I should think I’ve hit some arbitrary milestone that makes me better than anyone else.
© Sarah Doughty