I had an epiphany yesterday. About myself and my work and what it means for my future in general.
The bottom line is: I do things for me. And that… works against me in the wider world.
Allow me to explain. I enjoy writing. I enjoy making YouTube videos. I enjoy reading tarot and astrology charts. These are things I’m “passionate” about, but only as much as I’m passionate about anything. Because I think I’m also fundamentally lazy. Which means that I write well enough to satisfy myself, and make videos well enough to satisfy myself, and read tarot and astrology well enough to satisfy myself. But—at least as far as videos go—I’m never going to be the person who, say, buys a fancy camera and lights and editing software. I could, if I felt strongly enough about it? But I don’t, so I won’t. Which means my videos are never going to be slick and professional looking. And that in turn means I probably won’t ever be a big-time YT sensation.
With my writing, it’s not laziness so much as the stories that I tell, and the way I tell them… I like them. But they don’t fit the mold, and I’m never going to contort myself and my work to try and fit the mold. Which means I’ll never have an agent or be a
real boy traditionally published author [again].
So when I realized this yesterday, I had to ask myself whether I’m okay with this. Because obviously I can change it. I can go all in on the video stuff, I can put myself out there as a tarot reader, I can change the way I craft stories. (Actually, re that last one, no I can’t. I’ve tried, and I really just cannot. Though maybe with a good editorial agent and solid direction—something I’m never going to get, so…) And the answer is: yeah. I’m satisfied with myself, even if I’m not always happy with the results. For me, the potential ROI on more effort, on trying to conform or whatever, just isn’t worth it. I know I have no one to blame but myself if I fail to become a big YT star or bestselling author, but I’m happy to have found even a few people who like what I do. People who maybe think like me and embrace the off-kilter storytelling.
I’ve been agonizing over this edit of my forthcoming book because I’m trying to do it “right.” And while there are definite fixes to be made, I need to remember that nothing is perfect and no book will be universally loved. So I will edit to the best of my ability. And I will create a final product to my personal satisfaction. Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself. And be happy with my own efforts. And that’s all that ultimately matters.*
*To me. Everyone must define success for themselves. For some, it’s being the famous YouTuber, or the Instagram influencer, or the traditionally published author. I’m learning that… It’s not that I don’t have what it takes, but that what it takes (by societal standards) isn’t something I’m interested in investing in. That feels like an important self-insight.