We hear the term “self-love” bandied about, but do we really know what it means? In the simplest terms, it’s about focusing on your own well-being and happiness. It’s not about being selfish or greedy, it’s about taking care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can come in different forms for different people, or multiple forms for the different areas of your life.
For writers, self-love is wrapped up in layers of literary success. Of course, everyone has a different definition of success. But just for the sake of conversation, let’s say that success means selling lots of books and getting a lot of attention/feedback on social media.
It’s easy for popular authors who sell lots of books, win awards, and get lots of likes on their Facebooks pages, hits on their blogs/websites, and followers on Twitter. Right? I mean, with that kind of validation, they’re already miles ahead.
That’s where the self-love part comes in. Now, I can go the Stuart Smalley route just tell you to repeat to yourself, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me.” Well, if that works for you, then go for it. But what I’m going to tell you to do is the opposite of the woowoo thing. I’m going to tell you to look at the basic reality of the publishing industry.
Getting traffic and sales is HHAAAAARRRRRRD.
Yep, that’s the technical, industry term. And that’s all you really need to know. Stop beating yourself up when your royalty checks are smaller than you’d like. Don’t feel bad when very few people like your posts or retweet your tweets. And just because no one comments on your blog, that doesn’t mean no one’s reading.
It may seem like little consolation when your ultimate goal is to be a full-time writer—or even if it’s just to make enough money to put a down payment on a pair of shoes—but, really, when you think about it, it isn’t a reflection on you, your talent, your skills, or your intelligence. It’s about many fish swimming in a small pond, fighting for the same food. A lot of it is luck.
So, in order to maintain our emotional, mental, and, ultimately, physical well-being, we need to remind ourselves that despite a less-than-satisfactory performance on our books, blogs, etc., we are still good at what we do. We are worthy of being a part of the literary landscape. And we have the right to put our words out there. There’s a serenity to be gained from this way of thinking.
With serenity comes growth. And with growth, maybe even more sales. But what’s important is that at the end of the day, we’ve done the work we were really meant to do. And that’s a beautiful thing.