Writing: Own your voice
As writers, sometimes we get stuck in a rut of waiting for the right opportunities to share our work; we dream of guest posting here, or being published there. But when it doesn't happen we get discouraged. Sometimes we stop creating because.... well, no one likes us, so why bother. And no matter how old we are, that's exactly how we feel when we're rejected for any reason:
Don't be like Charlie Brown, loveably needy as he is. While having our work recognized in a big way is in fact a worthy goal, we are not doomed to waiting for that to happen in order to build our brand and serve the world here and now. Nor does it have to.
Take ownership of your voice now.
Don't wait for someone else to give you a platform from which to share it. Create your own. In 2016 there is no reason not to and no short supply of ways and resources to be your own outlet. Yes, it takes time to build an audience but it doesn't mean it won't come nor does it mean you don't have awesome content worth sharing right now.
Two writers I follow have few followers on their respective social media accounts but their content rocks and their personal stories are inspiring. They simply create and share their work for the joy of it. It's quality content by real people. How many book authors today started out as bloggers with no following at first? They built their audience one post or tweet at a time; they created original, authentic content that resonated with real people. LOTS of them.
God given talent and worthwhile messages don't require outside validation or "permission" to be created and shared. They are meant to be shared now, simply on their own merit and value to others. There's no better way to own your own voice than to own it on your own terms and on your own platform, not because someone else gave you permission or a place to do it.
1) Stop comparing yourself - It's ok to be inspired by others' work but don't let it rob you of your own creativity and message. Everyone else is everyone else. Your audience is waiting to hear from YOU, even though they don't know it yet.
2) Realize that everyone struggles - Most great writers (or other creatives) struggle. That's a fact. But they create and share in spite of their fears, or other issues, not because they don't have them. The people who create quality, follow worthy content are in fact real people who have their personal and creative struggles and insecurities but they choose to work past them. So it's ok to feel freaked out about creating your own platform and sharing your work. Do it anyway.
3) Know that it takes time - Be patient with yourself and with the process but don't ever stop writing or moving in the right direction. I wish I would have taken this advice back when I first started blogging. Way, way too often I allowed my emotions, fears and personal issues make important decisions for me rather than recognizing them for what they were and plowing past them. I'd have a whole lot more published content now had I done that.
But the one piece of my own advice I am taking now is this:
4) Own your voice now.
If down the line we are still feeling left out in the proverbial cold while "everyone else" is creating, building, sharing and being shared, it's because we chose to, not for lack of means. Don't wait for anyone else's approval. By owning your voice here and now, and creating and sharing on your own terms, the right opportunities will come your way rather than and you turning into this chick...
...waiting for someone else to say you're a good writer. You're already a good writer with something worth saying. Don't keep your audience waiting.
It might not even matter because you realize that sharing your own work, on your own terms and your own platform actually is the best opportunity.
Also published on Medium