As I have mentioned previously, I was published for the first time back in early December in my university creative arts magazine, Razz my Berries. I intended to write this post at that time, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. However, yesterday a piece of my writing was featured site-wide on deviantART and received a fair amount of attention – certainly more attention than any piece of my writing has ever had from any platform. It got me thinking again about recognition and how we deal with it, and mostly, when is it enough?
It is human nature to consider other people’s opinions of ourselves; for the most part, we want people to like us, and to like the things that we are emotionally invested in. For a musician, that might be their music; for an actor, their performance; for a particle physicist, their latest hypothesis. For a writer, that beloved art is their writing, in whatever form that takes. It is natural, then, to look for some sort of recognition, some sign that what we’re doing is purposeful, is meaningful. We are all looking for a purpose in life, and to have validation given to you for something that is so important to you is a wonderful feeling, and it isn’t wrong to want this support.
There are times when I doubt myself, and whether I will ever be successful as a writer. There are times when I am afraid to admit to myself – and to others – that I want to be a professional writer, to make it my job, because I am terrified that it will never happen and that I will never be fulfilled in that respect. For the most part, I am slowly getting to grips with this fear and not allowing it to dictate what I do, and whether or not I try new things.
The existence of this doubt makes the high moments all the better. Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusions as to the insignificance of my ‘achievements’, but they give me the kick I need every now and then, no matter how small.
Getting a Daily Deviation on deviantART is a feature, not an award. However, it feels so great to know that thousands of people have viewed that particular piece of writing, and even though I wrote it over 18 months ago, and no longer feel that it is my best work, it made people feel something. Somebody, somewhere, has read my words and has enjoyed them, and has taken the time to comment and tell me so. In fact, over 100 people have read those words and liked them enough to add the piece to their favourites.
A few years ago I created two little sayings for myself that I decided I would live both my personal and creative life by. The first is:
Aspire to Inspire
The second is less catchy:
If I can touch one person with my words, then I will be happy.
At the age of twenty, I am just beginning to start my career, and am focusing on writing as something I want to do professionally. The first saying is something that I can relate to still. I hope always to live my life in such a way that is inspirational to others, both because I want to help others, but also because I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t try always to be the best version of myself. The second saying was perhaps a little naive because I’ll readily admit that I am not satisfied with touching only one person with my writing. I am happy to have done so, but of course I want to further that reach to a wider audience. I feel now that these two ‘rules’, so to speak, are at odds with each other. I cannot hope always to inspire, and simultaneously be satisfied with inspiring only one person.
The question is, when will it be enough? At what point will I feel satisfied that I have really made a difference? Is there even an end point? Should there be an end point?