Am I good enough? As a writer there are many times when I doubt my abilities. Times I wonder if the words I write touch anything in others. Times I fear that my work is too different to be understood. Are they simply the ramblings of a lady who sees the world through a very strange lens?
And then I shout to myself, STOP!
Truth be told, being different is a gift. There is no one who sees the world like me. No one who writes like me. No one who puts the sentences together on the page like me.
That is the wonder of being human.
As is true for everyone.
I once went to a writing workshop hosted by screenwriter, novelist, and radio talk show host, Dave Congalton. After depressing the class with a sobering list of statistics about the slim chances of getting a book deal, he paused. Then he said something that has stuck with me ever since.
Dave said, “I may not have a blockbuster idea or a New York Times bestseller material. But I do have stories I can share. Stories that are uniquely mine. And I am not going to let some publishing-house gatekeeper keep me from sharing them. ”
He then went on to outline his process of self-publishing his book Ho Ho: The Dog Who Saved Christmas and the joy he felt in finally having his story in print.
I was inspired.
Later that year I began the process of self-publishing my first novel, Forest Secrets. It took months of hard work, rewrites, editorial consults, and quite a bit of money. When I finally held that book in my hands and ran fingers over the smooth over, a lifelong dream came true.
That is the moment I return to in times of doubt. Yes, I am different. No, I have not made the New York Times bestseller list. But I believe in myself.
As should you.
Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.