On the other hand, I’m a down-to-earth person with an observing ego and I accept that levels of success vary wildly in all layers of the writing community. From my perspective, I’m not exaggerating when I say these are some Big Names.
That’s what makes one snippet of conversation during this particular rubbing of shoulders all the more remarkable.
Here’s who was there.
Along with documentary producers Lisa Marie Evans and Cheryl Pletcher, attendees included me, Marianne K. Martin, Katherine V. Forrest, Leslea Newman, Jewelle Gomez, Lee Lynch, Ann Bannon, Fay Jacobs, Penny Mickelbury, Sarah Waters, Jenifer Levin, Ellen Hart, with Sandra Scott on behalf of her late wife Nancy Garden.
“I was never sure I had an impact. I didn’t know.”
That’s a quote from one of these amazing writers.
Heads nodded all around. Look again at the names. Think about their books and how those books fed your soul. They recognized the feeling of not knowing if your work had an impact.
Because you never know.
No matter how little or much work you put out in the world, even after people tell you that YOUR STORY lingers with them, that it helped them, that it might have even kept them from despair and saved their life, the wriggling voice of doubt can still whisper that you don’t really know if the blood, sweat, tears mattered to anyone but you.
One Pebble Starts a Wave
I was glad I got to say that it’s precisely because those who published before me had an impact that I was even there. Even as some of them were wondering if there was any point to writing their truths, the ripples they started had already caught me up and lifted me. My wave joined theirs, already headed to shore.
So, dear writers, my fellow impostors, never doubt that the truths you produce for others to read is a pebble in the world pond. Keep the pebbles rolling, flying, spinning, splashing. Take care of yourself so you may finally be able to see the wave of your own making.
Be patient with yourself. This seems especially important now, when the world seems uncertain under our feet. Meet your own goals. Revel in compliments. Fill the long silences with whatever gives you joy and renewal. Rise with the tide.