Updated: Jun 10, 2018
To start this post, I'd like to tell you about Mel Jolly.
Melissa Jolly is an Author’s Assistant to multiple NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors and founder of Author Rx. She has been “Keeping Authors Out of the Loony Bin Since 2009.” Her newsletters are full of good stuff. I actually look forward to receiving them. You can sign up for her awesome newsletter here.
The July 2017 Author Rx newsletter shared this quote that has been burning through my dura mater of late.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Let's talk about that highlight reel.
A highlight reel is not unlike a movie trailer. It's all the good bits. Social media does the same thing. All the good bits.
Come on, life is not a Pepsi commercial. Those gorgeous put together Facebook, Twitter, Instagram posts and live ops are staged. No author I know of drives around in her car with a Starbucks cup, sipping from a straw while she tosses her perfectly coifed and highlighted blonde hair over her shoulder with a hand that displays her newly manicured nails before she smacks her lovely lips (note it's the same color Bella Hadid uses, Rouge Dior 999 Couture Color of course!)
You know what? There really is nothing wrong with the above scenario. And if you are an author you know that books used to be our product. Today, authors are as much a part of the product as the stuff between those covers.
Just understand that it's all staged. You see only what the author wants you to see. A perfect or slightly imperfect (to make her look like a regular Joe) slice of her life. The five-star reviews, the accolades, and all the accouterments are filtered for your viewing pleasure. Sure, you see authors working hard, but when was the last time you saw a picture posted of an author plunging the toilet or cleaning up a fur-ball off the floor? Not lately.
(And BTW, if you are spewing the ugly stuff on social media then that's another post for another day!)
It's a highlight reel. Got it? Don't compare your everyday life to the good bits.
And while you're at it, try to remember that we are not cookie-cutter writers (or readers!) and you do not write cookie-cutter stories. Cookie-cutter manuscripts are technically perfect and are without flavor or seasoning. They lack soul and identity.
Stay true to yourself and your voice. Never try to be someone else.
You are uniquely you. Who else could be you, BUT you? Your voice is your writing fingerprint.
Sure you have to learn the rules. You learn the rules so you have the right to break them as you then work to mold and create the writer that is YOU!
No one else could have written the books on our Keeper Shelf but the authors who wrote them. Right?
I've quoted Stephen Covey over and over in the past, so what will one more time hurt?
This is your journey.
Don't live somebody else's writer life.
Don't measure yourself by someone else's yardstick.
Don't find yourself chasing someone else's vision.
Above all, you and I are fearfully and wonderfully made. Dare I say, awesomely?
Yes, you are awesome. Quick! List 5 awesome things about you.
Now, tell the world!