“I’ve always wanted to go to Comic-Con,” I tweeted to her. She was a published author—with a THREE book deal. And someone I really looked up to. “But I’m worried that I’m not geek enough to fit in.”
Didn’t matter that I loved cosplay, video games, Dungeons + Dragons, and had multiple top-level characters as both Horde and Alliance in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Because, while I loved superhero movies and anime series and all the wars and treks beginning with “Star” (plus that little cowboy-in-space awesomeness called Firefly), I didn’t have a comic book collection, I never could force myself to read manga, and I couldn’t tell you which episode Captain So-and-So did XYZ.
As writers, I think we feel that way a lot, too.
That, despite our love of writing and books, we’re “not enough” to fit in.
I hear it all the time: I’m…
- Not literary enough to be literary.
- Not commercial enough to be commercial.
- Not indie enough to be with the self-pubbers.
- Not traditional enough to be with the big five-ers.
- And not knowledgeable enough—period—to claim to be a “real” writer because I don’t know the top agents, agencies, bloggers, editors, publishers, or any other industry leaders that some writers talk about in hushed, sacred tones.
(I’ve struggled with some of these same beliefs myself.)
And we wonder, “Where do I fit?”
I don’t want you to fit.
I don’t want you to blend in.
I don’t want you to be just another writer in a long line of writers all trying to be seen by doing the same damn thing as the writer before them.
You—your dreams, your story—are bigger than that!
And YOU are meant to STAND OUT.
This is the Year of the Writer!!!
And you’ve gotta build the courage to make that mean something.
Courage to NOT fit in.
Courage to write whatever genre-aligned or genre-bending story you’ve been called to write.
Courage to share that story and be proud of your work.
Courage to be seen as your brand of writer.
Courage to follow whatever publishing path is best for your book.
Courage to be you, to love you, to cheer for you, and to accept you—quirks and all.
Because you’re worth it. So is your story.
And if you’re thinking, “Yeah, Deb, that’s great. But am I writer enough to be a writer?”, let me respond as that author did to me years ago.
“DB,” she replied, “The fact that you WANT to go to Comic-Con says you’re geek enough to be there.”
Sweet Writer, the fact that you WANT to be a writer says you’re writer enough to be here.
BE that writer. Choose to improve your craft. Lean into the uniqueness that sets you apart. Learn whatever you need to learn to take the next step in your writing journey.
And please, if you do nothing else, cultivate the courage to love, accept, forgive, and embrace YOU.
You are enough.
Here’s to having the courage to NOT fit in!
Loves & hugs,
P.S. Just to clarify, “fitting in” and “belonging” are not the same thing. In my world, “fitting in” is to adjust yourself to be socially compatible with members of a group. “Belonging” is to be invested in other people and they invested in you. You belong with me.