On Being a Writer – Promote (DONE)
If there was one chapter that I was dreading, it was this one. Promoting myself? You’ve got to be kidding.
I have been working at Starbucks for almost a decade. I was blessed to know someone who was familiar with my character and vouched for me to the manager at my hiring store, enabling me to have an interview and obtain employment. In the past ten years, I have attempted half-heartedly to find other places to work, when I became frustrated with different events in the work place or just because I didn’t feel like it was something that I could/should be at long term. The thing is, that for many jobs you have to sell yourself to the employer. That just rubs me the wrong way. I know that I need to let them know why they should hire me; I just don’t like speaking about myself.
That dislike goes way beyond just trying to let others know who I am and what I’m capable of for a job. I’m not sure if I’ve always thought poorly of myself, or if it has just been since I’ve became a teenager, but there is an element of self-loathing that always simmers just below the surface. There is no way that I can begin to tell the truth about myself, when I myself am unaware of who I really am. I have asked a few trusted friends to give me three words to describe myself that I can then incorporate into my resume. I felt like I was asking them for praise (and perhaps I was) but it was difficult to see them say good things about me, especially if I wasn’t prone to believe the words they had chosen.
I think that claiming to be a writer is one thing. I haven’t been able to fully grasp that yet. I think that you need to be able to claim this before you can promote it. If you don’t believe that you are a writer, then what do you have to promote to anyone?
However, as I think about it…I have lots of ideas that I’m passionate about. Things that resonate over and over with me that I just want to share. And those things…I know. I feel them. And I tend to write them down as a way to process. And they are the things that I often resonate with in the writing that others produce and share. But the idea of being a writer, seems somewhat otherworldly…something that perhaps has been able to see those word written as more than just scratching on the page.
The message matters and I want to get it to the people who need to hear it. – Ann Kroeker
I resonated with Ann and Charity’s reflection on social media. I can see it being able to reach a greater audience with its scope, but also the ability for people to be asked to be involved in things that perhaps aren’t quite reflective of what they believe or stand for (or others know they believe and stand for.) I am thankful for social media’s granting me the ability to keep in touch with people both present in my life right now, and people that I’ve met around the world who encourage me in different aspects of my life. I have been to three retreats, at which I have met numerous people with whom I’m attempted to build a relationship. I want them to know that I resonate with what they write about. That they have a gift and I’m one of the people who is blessed with them making use of it. However, if anyone was in turn to say those words to me, I was say thank you, all the while not believing a bit of it.
For some reason its easier for me to grasp that others might be gifted to write, than for me to think that I might be one of those that is gifted. I have received comments from friends and strangers on my writing that I have shared, and yet I struggle to believe they are speaking truth. Its definitely a heart issue. Its not that they are speaking lies, I don’t believe they think they are. But there is something lost in the translation between their words and my ears, their comments online and my eyes. Something that can’t possibly believe that I am one of the blessed.
When Ann speaks about promoting other writers, that resonated deeply with me. I am so excited when I come across new people’s writing that really speaks to me and I can tell they have a passion to write. I am excited to share this in my small reach of people. Emily Wierenga used to have a link up called ‘Imperfect Prose’ and back when it was small enough she could read them all, she would often call out a couple of people’s writing and share a small excerpt. I came to read several individuals blogs and eventually connect with them as a result. One of the things in the writing world that I am most thankful for (at least in what I’ve experienced) is the way in which others welcome you into the fold. Perhaps it is simply the people that I’ve come to know that embrace this philosophy, or perhaps it isn’t expressed in their writing, but the air of competition seems absent. This makes it feel welcoming.
The way I see it, there are two sides to most writers – the proud, confident one and the insecure, embarrassed one. I wrestle with these sides of myself nearly every time I write, and it colors my perceptions of promotion. – Charity Craig
There are days when I wish that I had more scope of influence. That I was more widely read. That perhaps I could make use of the knowledge of those I know and the people that they in turn know and begin to develop some sort of readership. But then incidents happen that seem to make the blog-o-sphere light up with anger and hateful speech for those with a more predominant platform, and I’m thankful I’m sequestered in my ‘safe’ corner for now. Letting yourself be known means that you’re vulnerable. Letting yourself be vulnerable often leads to hurt at some point. When you fear being hurt as much as I do, you’ll let yourself belief in the falsehood of control. That perhaps by longing for comments and readers you’ll have a little more of others input into your life, but you want to be able to control who reads you and how they respond, and that most often just isn’t possible.
There have been incidents that have taken place worldwide in which I’ve had an opinion I didn’t feel free to share. I felt that sharing my opinion might be something that people would push back on. For someone who doesn’t believe that they have much value or a great deal to offer in terms of conversation or critique, the thought of this push back makes fingers seize up and mouths silent of speech. The fear is great. It takes over. And it leaves the stories stopped up inside, rather then shared where they belong, with discerning and moderation.