|Guest Blogger: MaryLu Tyndall|
Can I admit something to you? I’ve battled insecurity my entire life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always compared myself with others and found myself lacking. Lacking in looks, intelligence, in coordination, personality, wit, charm. You name it, I didn’t have enough of it!! I wanted more. I wanted to be like those girls who knew the right thing to say all the time, who got all the attention, who were smart and pretty and could play sports too! What was God thinking when He made me? Did I get in the wrong line in Heaven and miss out on some trait I was supposed to get?
Then, of course I grew up. I matured. I went to school, got married, had kids and became a successful author. A publisher author! Something I never thought I’d accomplish. So, of course after seeing eleven of my novels published, all those silly childhood insecurities disappeared!
NOT! Note to self: If you battle insecurity, being an author may not be the career for you!
Forget the multiple rejections you receive before you even get published! (Did I mention that rejection doesn’t help insecurity?) It doesn’t get any easier afterward! I won’t even talk about the bad reviews and miserable sales numbers that constantly plague every author. (Well, most of us, anyway. Grrr)
Which brings me to my point. Competition is so inbred in the publishing business that it’s nearly impossible, as an author, not to compare yourself with other authors around you. Good grief, we compete against each other to get published in the first place, and then we compete to get readers and to win awards and get more contracts! It never ends.
For me, it’s like reliving my childhood all over again. NO, not again! Let’s face it, we all have weaknesses. Mine at the moment are researching and marketing. Here’s the deal. God made me an introvert who hates picky details. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to change—thought about going to crazy author counseling. But I’ve come to realize this is who God created me to be. I love history. I love reading about history but I detest spending hours and hours searching through mind-numbing books to find out whether a lady would wear a short glove or elbow-length glove in 1718 Charleston. Ugggg! And the trouble is, God also spared me a memory, so even when I do find that tiny fact, I can’t guarantee I’ll remember it a day later! Yet, some writers are so good at this. They love research. They would rather spend days diving into historical details than writing. Not only that, they remember everything they read!
To make matters worse, self-marketing and I just don’t mix. I can’t stand bragging about myself online! I hate trying to sell my books (I once tried to sell Mary Kay Makeup and fell flat on my face! Literally) I can’t stand social media. I hate small talk. I detest Facebook and I don’t care how many online friends I have! But other authors do this so well! Their efforts to sell their books come across so natural and flawless. Their tweets are funny and charming, their Facebook posts interesting. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones with a gazillion followers. (Please don’t look up how many I have)
So I sit and put in my head in my hands and wonder what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be better at these things? Why can’t I remember details? Why can’t I be great at social media? Why can’t I write like so-and-so? Win awards? Be on the best-seller list?
When we compare ourselves to others, we are basically telling God that we don’t think He did a good enough job when He created us. Somehow He forgot a couple of ingredients. A pinch of wit. a dash of charm, a tablespoon of intelligence, an ounce of memory! If we only had a little bit more of this and that, then we could be like so-and-so who can spit out 100K novels faster than a speeding bullet, who creates fascinating characters more powerful than a locomotive, and who is able to leap over buildings of time-consuming research in a single bound.
But did God really make a mistake? Does He really want you to be like them? Or did He form you in your mother’s womb with the precise amounts of every quality, personality trait, quirks, dreams, desires and yes, even weaknesses that He wanted you to have for a unique and special purpose that only YOU can do? That’s right. Only you! No one else can or ever will be able to write the stories that you can write. Not only the specific stories but in the way you can write them. Nor can anyone else reach the specific readers that you can with your books. If you don’t write them, those readers will miss out.
So, I look at things differently now. I’ve stopped trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I’m focusing on the talents God has given me. I may not be able to research as well as someone else, I may not have as many Facebook friends, or win any awards, or sell tons of books, but no one can write a story just like I can. If you’re like me, might I suggest something? Stop looking around at what others can do andt instead look up and thank God for what you do well. Thank Him for what He’s allowed you to do, and then do your very best at it, and forget the rest. Forget trying to be anyone but who God made you to be!