Where Do We Go From Here

I want to help people. I like helping people, it is the motivation for so many of the things that I do, and yet, most of the time I feel like I’m still sitting in one place going no where. I don’t consider myself an expert on anything, and most of the time I just wander through life with a sense of longing towards some hazy goal that I have very poorly defined. I like to think that just by providing some form of entertainment, or by putting some random philosophical thought out into the world that someone out there will benefit from it.

What’s Really On My Mind

I celebrated the first anniversary of my blog this past weekend. That is a fairly decent milestone, I think. Most blogs don’t seem to last that long, and the ones that do seem to go on forever. I should be excited that I’ve made it this far. I should be reveling in the fact that I’ve managed to find an amazing group of readers and friends because of it. I should focus on that.

My mind doesn’t focus on the positive things, though. I always find myself aware of the good, able to see that it exists, but I obsess over the negative. Why am I not growing? Why do I still have a hard time writing regularly even though I’ve done it for over a year now? Am I really helping anyone, or is this all just a selfish act of narcissism? Can I grow beyond what I am now and create something important?

These things weigh fairly heavily on me, but the one that almost always crops up in my head, behind all of the small nagging problems, is the real fear, the one that gnaws absently at the back of my mind, chewing at my self confidence. I’m afraid that I’m never going to make it.

It became clear to me back in May that I had finally broken through the barrier in my mind that always told me that being a writer was an impractical dream, a hopeless desire that would never come true. I finally convinced myself it was okay to try.

I don’t know that I’ve made any progress since then. I feel like in some ways I’ve slid backwards, moving farther away from the dream of being able to quit my job and live off of my own creativity and wit. I know that there is a certain amount of luck that goes into making it big as a writer, and part of me is still convinced that I’ve already used up all of my luck for this lifetime.

Re-Examining My Writing Life

Over the course of the last year, I’ve made myself a better person. I’ve definitely made myself a more content person. I’ve defeated a fairly serious depression, and even when it starts to creep back into my mind, I can vanquish it back to the dark depths of hell that gave it birth. Learning to overcome that darkness came from writing this blog. I told the world that I was going to do it, and then I did it. I talked about the struggles and the challenges I faced, and I had a group of people that helped me through it.

When I announced back in May that I was going to focus on building a career as a writer, I was encouraged by those same people to continue to chase down that dream. They believed that I could achieve that goal if I worked hard enough to do so.

The problem is, I didn’t know how to achieve it. I just kept stumbling forward, with no clear goal in mind. I didn’t say, “I need to do this to achieve this.”

I didn’t know what I wanted to really achieve beyond the vague idea of “write professionally.” I didn’t even really know what that meant. I still don’t.

What I do know, though, is that I have to figure those things out. I know that I can probably figure those things out better with the community I’ve wandered into supporting me and helping me along the way, just as they did when I was trying to overcome my depression.

The First Goal

Now, I know that it takes small steps to move forward. I don’t know what those steps are yet, or even where they really lead, but I think that gives me the first step, right there. It is past time for me to figure out exactly what it means for me to be a professional writer, and figure out how I should go about doing that.

Of course, any suggestions would be more than appreciated.

5 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here

  1. Stereo.* says:

    First off, Happy belated blogaversary, friend. Well done to you for hitting that milestone. Feels sort of brilliant, doesn’t it? And I think that really is the first step. You’ve established a blog and you’re writing regularly. Seriously, you write more than anyone else I have met on Reverb. There’s something new from you pretty much everyday – that is another huge achievement. Don’t sell yourself short!

    I think the next thing is just to grow your community; reach out to more people. I tell myself this everyday but my truth is that I am pretty lazy when it comes to commenting. I hit up my regular peeps and rarely venture out of that circle to comment and talk and connect with others. I need to get over it. It’s only by reaching out that you can find others and I think that’s what we need to do.

    1. Thank You, Stereo*.

      I often feel like I’m not doing enough. To use the TrafficBlogger analogy, my blog is a bit like Easter Island, well, more like Hawaii, there are a few other places I go, but I don’t venture out nearly enough. I think a good goal for October would be to spend a lot more time commenting and guest posting. I do write a lot, so I should put some of the extra writing to use.

  2. You are a writer the moment you pick up a pen and start writing – or start tapping keys on the keyboard putting words on the screen. Don’t sell yourself short – which you do way too often. It’s not about TITLES. Let me repeat that. IT. IS. NOT. ABOUT. TITLES. It is what YOU make it. OWN it, Matt. YOU have that power. No one else does. You want to be a writer – you are. You want to be a professional writer – all that means is you are getting paid for your writing. It’s just a title. A nice one – yes – but it  doesn’t really define you. It is who/what you do. Above all – most importantly – you are Matt. And you are a writer. An incredibly gifted writer.

    1. Tracy, 

      Thank you, because of support from you and all of our other blog friends, I know that I can make it happen. This post isn’t about whether or not I can write, it’s not about self doubt. It’s about identifying what I am doing well, and what I need to do to become successful financially. 

      I love that I have this blog, and I love that I have the people I’ve met thanks to it. Now, I think I need to figure out how I can use all of these wonderful things I’ve learned and gained so that I don’t have to go back to my crappy job. 🙂

      Don’t look at this as me saying, “I’m not a writer.” Look at it as me saying, “Damn it, I’m a writer, and Shakespeare gots to get paid!”

      It isn’t looking back on failure, it’s looking forward to higher achievements!

  3. Roxanne says:

    There is a recurrent theme in both this post and the comments: enoughness. What is enough? How do we judge what is enough? By our own needs and wants and standards? By a projected blogging standard? By comparison? I think if this need to do more is coming from you, then you’ll find a way to branch out, to do more, to write more, to do whatever more of that you wish to do. But often times, our sense of ‘not enoughness’ is coming externally, and we simply need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we need.

    As for the positivity… I can be Little Miss Sunshine, and I have my dark and stormy days too. There is no benefit to ceaseless positivity when we are not feeling it. The bright and optimistic days are brighter when we muster them with sincerity — and that is something you do better than most people who write out there. I am looking forward to reading everything you have to offer.

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