If you've been sitting around waiting to be "chosen," I've got great news for you! You choose yourself!
One of my biggest struggles as I got ready to leave my job was getting rid of the need for approval. It was disconcerting how deep this habit ran. I wanted someone else to point out that I was good enough. I needed approval from my boss, my family, my publisher, to let me know I was accepted.
We're trained to seek approval. For the first two decades of our lives, we turn in papers to teachers, who mark them up and tell us how to make them better. It's a hard habit to brake.
That might be why as clients get deeper into their manuscript they start to search for someone to tell them it's okay. Sometimes, they subconsciously seek out people who will tell them it's not good enough. Perhaps that's a throw back to earlier patterns in education.
However last night I read a wonderful quote in the book Authorpreneur by Jesse Tevelow, "We now live in a world that favors content creators over gatekeepers." That changes everything.
When I first started submitting stories, the game was all about waaaaiting and then compulsively editing to vie for someone else's approval. It was harrowing.
Not anymore. Now creating volumes of good content is far more important than perfectionism. In fact, in many genres you have a better chance of growing an audience and being successful if you're courageous and publish a minimum viable product. This is a huge change from the obsessive editing I used to do.
Furthermore, you're more likely to stand out in the market as long as you're unique and authentic, rather than watering yourself down or conforming to someone else's rules.
This has so many repercussions in the way we pursue are careers and educate our children. When you think about it, so much of what we focus on in education isn't going to help you get started anymore. The gates are open now. People will forgive the details, as long as the consistency and quality of the content is strong.
Therefore, you do want to break the approval habit in favor of your own voice. Just start to notice the places where you seek recognition from other people. After I quit my job, I was always wanted the teachers in online classes to tell me I was good enough. Then I started laughing at that. Soon enough I was just posting, screwing up, learning and posting again. That's the cheapest and quickest way!
So does this mean no more editors, no more workshops and no more critiques?
It just means the way we look for feedback is going to change. Always go with the editor or beta reader who understand you and enhances your voice. Don't let anybody change you or your message.
One part hasn’t changed. You still want to develop a crowd. But you no longer achieve that through acceptance. You achieve it by sharing the message that only you have to offer. Write the book that you were meant to write. Don't water it down.
Like I said, no one person is going to choose you. You have to choose yourself. You have to keep putting yourself out there, connecting with people, and developing your own craft. Then you have to choose yourself again as you do the publicity, pick yourself up when you fall, and continue for the long term.
These are the skills we need to learn now, in order to be successful in publishing. They’re spiritual skills of resilience and trust. The ego wants acceptance, the soul needs authentic connection. The messages that have been burbling up inside, have a platform in which they can be heard. You are the chosen one, you choose yourself.