We live in such a funny world. Have you noticed how “success” is heralded as pretty much the main goal (sometimes it seems the only goal). One where, especially today, promoting, promoting, promoting is all the rage, and it seems like all anyone does!
Social-media outlets are filled with marketing and promotion. You know the score. And yep, I do this too. Writers (like every other career and business) don’t have a lot of choice these days, as with 15 million e-books out there alone, well, somehow, some way you have to be seen. Otherwise all that lovely work you’ve produced drowns a lonely death in the enormous sea.
The real funny part of this is our hero worship of celebrities, of all makes and models, and how because they have achieved great success, they must be somehow better than everyone else.
We’ve all been there, no? We seek to learn from them how they did it. But more, we emulate their lifestyles, their politics, their spiritual paths.
Now, I’m not saying that some of these people aren’t great folks. I’m sure they are. I’m sure some of them are wise and wonderful in real life.
But honestly, taking political or lifestyle advice from actors or sports stars is kinda goofy.
Just that a vast majority of citizens have made a person famous isn’t a litmus test for that person being a guru.
As an author, I mingle with other authors and writers a lot. And of course, much of the conversation always centers around selling. In fact, many writers’ conferences these days are focusing far more on marketing and selling than on the writing itself.
And it shows. But that’s another topic!
Writers, again, like so many other professions, hone their craft in solitude. Folks on the outside often comment that it must be a lonely way of life—all that time spent alone in your writing space.
But the essence of it is, just as with anything pursued with heart and passion, if you truly love what you do, the world opens wide rather than closes in.
If you truly love your work, then boom! The world you create is beautiful and powerful and filled with such passion that you cannot imagine another way. Any time you’re in the thick of it, your life soars.
That’s when you’re following your bliss. No matter if ultimately you sell a million copies, or ten.
Okay, so maybe the ten would hurt.
But the point is, it’s in the doing of the thing where you meet true success.
Finding this passion, being in your bliss, is the one thing that answers the question of, “Do I matter?” Even when “outer” success is not so apparent.
As our culture more and more seems driven by “what about me?” and “am I important?” with people scampering about to become a celebrity so they’ll be important, what actually makes one valuable gets more and more out of reach.
Because quite simply, you are uniquely you. You have a purpose. A reason to be here. And if that’s not popular in the culture in which you live, so be it. That doesn’t change the fact of what is.
Of course the converse is true as well. You can become the most famous person on the planet, and if you expect fame to fill you up, well, that’s barking at Mars when you thought it was the moon. Our world is rife with such examples. And many of those are tragic indeed.
If you don’t find it within, you won’t find it anywhere.
We all have parts to play in this crazy thing we call life. You have a reason to be here. You matter. What you can give to this world is important.
No matter what the masses say.
And if you live following your bliss, outer accouterments lose their power over you.
As mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.