I don’t know for certain, but I think it’s a sure sign you’ve arrived as a writer when the guy behind you in line at Walmart says, “Been on your blog lately?”
Thankfully, this was actually someone I’ve known for quite some time, so there was no awkward moment of, oh, I don’t know, fearing for my life. This did, however, present me with a unique kind of concern. If people are actually mentioning to me in person that they’ve seen my blog, it would stand to reason that others I don’t come into contact with are reading it as well. This, quite honestly, is freaking me out a little bit.
Of course, most logical humans would hope that if they began something like a blog or an on-line column that people would actually read it. Success, however, is a confusing concept to the skeptical mind (which is a pretty confusing place to begin with anyway). To even begin to start anything is a remarkable feat in itself for me, mainly because I’m pretty convinced at the outset that either A) I’m not going to be up to the task at hand or B) it’s going to fail for some other reasons, ranging from lack of interest from others to freak rainfalls of delectable giant meatballs (Sorry, my kids and I just watched “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” again recently. It has nothing to do with the book of the same name, so you really can’t compare the two. But, I digress…)
So when there’s any level of success in something I’ve begun, I’m probably just as or more surprised than anyone. Instead of the happiness and joy that should come with progress, I tend think more of words like “fear” and “dread.” What if I can’t keep it up? What if I offend somebody? What if people start not liking it? What if they find out that I’m really not the same in person as I am on paper (or the Internet, as the case may be)?
As with most things I’ve written about, I’d like to change this way of thinking about myself. The fear of failure, though, is a hard thing to shake, especially when you’re convinced the problem is as much you as it is anything else. Some people would label what I just described as a fear of success, and I guess that’s accurate in some ways, too. I mean, if you never accomplish anything, it’s pretty easy to remain in a skeptical mindset that nothing is going to work. It’s a fairly vicious cycle, and it’s a tough one to recognize.
So I’ll close here with a reluctant, but shameless, bit of self-promotion: Go tell all your friends to read my blog. Tell ’em I do freelance writing, everything from business articles to press releases to, heck, I don’t know, anything. Post links on your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts (By the way, I’m finally on Twitter. Still can’t figure out the big deal about it, though…) that will lead people here.
Just don’t follow me around at Walmart. Well, unless you’re gonna buy me something…