Essay 13 of 52: Talent


So this was pretty cool.

I keep clicking on that link - like it might have gone away over night. Seeing my own work on someone else's site is totally surreal.

My mom asked me a few months ago if writing was hard. It is. I think anyone who dabbles with writing, any type of writing, will say that it takes real effort. It takes action and dedication. If anything else - it means saying no to a million other choices and saying yes to writing.

But if writing is hard, the self-promotion is excruciating. I know this isn't the case for everyone. But it is so the case for me. I've been writing in journals and turning in essays for years. But never inviting anyone to read it. Always for pleasure or grades.

I have a co-worker that is an excellent cook. She makes the most delicious cookies, green chile wontons, and cheesecake. Whenever she brings treats to the office, we are thrilled. We gather around the conference table like hyenas at a carcass. I can see the pride and pleasure on her face. She made something for us to enjoy and I love it when she shares her talents with us.

Shouldn't it be that way with all the talents?

Elise Cripe talks a LOT about creative work, but has mentioned over and over again in her podcast the importance of self promotion. If no one knows about it, how will anyone know about it? I LOVE it when my favorite creatives clue me in on what they've been working on. I love peeks into others work spaces, new blog posts and Instagram photos. But each time I go to promote my own work - I feel so inadequate.

Why?

Because instead of being proud of my own work, I'm just comparing it to everything in sight, like trying to match swatches at a fabric store. I've lost the focus of what I'm doing and moved towards how it stacks up with what everyone else is doing. Sharing work is vulnerable and I so desperately want to be good. For someone else to think what I do, what I make, and what I write -- is good.

Another one of my favorite bloggers, Hannah, recently wrote a post that ties quite nicely with these thoughts on inadequacy. She said, "Shouldn’t we be a society that tries to be aware of what beauty is, and how to recognize and cultivate it? I’ve been thinking about those questions lately, and I decided to take stock of what actually makes me feel beautiful."

I want to start taking stock of what makes me feel talented. And fulfilled. And here's the most important part - not dependent of other people's thoughts of my work.

I feel fulfilled when I hit publish on a post. When the words mean something to me. When they aren't the easiest to write, but sound so real when I'm done.

But mostly, I fill fulfilled when I work. When I do something hard, nose to the grind. When I write because I need to, not because I want to. When I look up and see a finished product, or an item crossed off the list, even though I wanted to blow two hours on Netflix instead.

That's what this project, this 52 Essays was all about - writing when I didn't want to and getting somewhere I want to be.  Not comparing or contrasting my tiny body of work to someone else.

So this is me, fingers on the keyboard, pumping out another week.