What? Posting in a timely manner? Can’t be Hornet!
On a boring note, before I do real blogging- I tried to add an “About” page so that people can know what this blog is. But it’s not showing up for me. I don’t know if this is ’cause I have the fancy admin view or if I screwed up somehow. Can you guys tell me if you see it?
Now, let’s look at that title again. You are not very special. Please don’t run away yet. I promise I’m not out to hurt your feelings. I actually put a lot of time and effort into saving people’s feelings, so if you run away I’ll be really sad. Just hear me out.
You’re not very special. Let’s dissect that. There are seven billion people on this planet, and if you died tonight, the vast, vast majority of them wouldn’t know, care, or be influenced in any way by this. (But I would be. So please don’t die. It would make me very sad.) There are so many people out there with the same dreams and goals as you. A lot of them are better at it than you. It’s unlikely that you’re going to influence the world in any measurable way.
Are you running away yet? Have I driven anyone to curl up in their closets and cry? I really hope not. I really, really hope not. ’cause the next part’s better, I promise.
See, here’s the thing. What I have to learn how to do, and what I hope you learn to do, is to understand that just because you’re not special doesn’t mean you can’t live a meaningful, wonderful life filled with intelligent people who love and care about you.
As a writer, this is something I’ve struggled with a lot. While I was growing up what I always said was that I loved writing, but I would never try to be an author when I grew up, because so many people also wanted to be a writer, and there was no way I could ever be better than them, so I wouldn’t even try.
The part I disregarded was that writing meant, and still means, the world to me. Why did I disregard that? Why is it that I somehow came to the conclusion, when I was ten years old, that not being the most super-special-amazing at something somehow negated the pleasure I got from it in the first place?
I still think being an author is kind of a silly dream, I’m still anxiously aware of all of the competition in the field, and I still find writing to be one of the few things in the world I can I say I truly love.
I’m trying to change what I desire. Not to hope to be special to the rest of the world, all six billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine (crap, all those words look really weird to me now), but to be special to me. To be the best writer I can be, even if that’s not the best writer in the world. To change the course of my own life, and people whose lives I touch, for the better, even if I can’t change the world.
I talk to so many writers, often young teenagers, and I seem to see two categories. One I feel patronizingly sorry for: they’re the people who’re still in the writing honeymoon. “Oh, man, Joe Schmoe is this really awesome character- he’s just so clever, and witty, and he has this tall dark and handsome thing going on…” People drooling over their characters and stories like they’re just the cat’s pajamas. They’re the first person to ever make snarky sexy, they’re full of ideas, and they’re going to be the next J. K. Rowling. And then the other group: “i worked on my novel today. god it was terrible. but it’s not like it matters because i’m no going to get published or anything. lolnope. it sucks waaaaay too much for that.” These people are wallowing. As a frequent wallower, I can say it. They’re using the lack of specialness as an excuse.
Guess what? Some of them might grow out of it (I’m pretty sure all writers get into these moods… right guys? I’m not the only one?) and get published. But no one is going to have a successful career with those attitudes. Either one.
Here’s the thing: you are not very special. Get over it. Accept it and move on. Because you’re always going to be playing second fiddle to someone, that’s how the world works. So make sure you’re doing something you love, because that’s how you stay happy.
Here’s Grateful Dead song that I listen to when I’m overwhelmed by my not-specialness or beating myself up for feeling too special.