Don’t Let Others Limit You

Don't let others limit youI’m back, after tangling with a flu virus that didn’t want to leave me alone, and then making it through the buildup to Christmas. Usually I don’t take such a long break from blogging, but I’m back now.

With the new year almost here I wanted to take a break from the usual topics I post about and just share some thoughts I’ve had rattling around in my head lately.

You’ve probably already read the quote from me in the photo and guessed that’s where I’m headed. Allowing others to limit you is such a pervasive, damaging thing for artists of all kinds – not just writers. I see it all the time and have had to battle it constantly in my own life.

What it really comes down to is you have to believe in yourself. Sometimes nobody else will, and in fact some people whom you thought had your back will make fun of you, tell you that you’re pursuing something worthless, etc.

Once I shared the idea for a book with a friend at work. I knew he and his wife were working on a book and I’d given him some limited feedback on some things, so I figured it was safe to share a high-level overview of the plot I was considering. Before I got out more than two or three sentences he literally told me my idea was stupid and that nobody would want to read it. I felt crushed and started doubting the idea I’d cultivated for years.

That book has become one of my many trunk novels, but it’s one I fully plan on revisiting now that I have more confidence to really stick my neck out there. After completing some other projects that are pressing, that one will be addressed because it’s a story I know plenty of people will enjoy and relate to. Just because one person thought it was “stupid” doesn’t make it so.

Later I realized that this friend of mine was jealous as I quit working a nine-to-five job and began writing for a living. He has since disappeared, and I’ve realized that his interest never was in helping me. He’s not the only person I’ve run into who masquerades as one who just wants to make me better at what I do. As a result, I’m much more careful about who I get feedback from.

If you’re an artist/creative of any kind (musician, painter, sculptor, designer, writer, etc.) as you’re putting together your new year’s resolutions or goals, make it a point to stop listening to the people who want to sew doubt in your heart. It won’t make you instantly famous, but you will be happier and so much more successful – I know that from experience.

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