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Free to be the Greatest

While doing any given mundane task that doesn't require too much of my concentration, I often listen to Pandora. Pandora is supposed to match a given musical selection, but its choices are often rather eclectic. Sometimes its choices are things I quickly skip past, but sometimes it exposes me to interesting music to which I'd normally not know about. Recently, it played Sia's "The Greatest" and one of its lyrics stuck with me, "I am free to be the greatest tonight."

Many of us do not feel free to be the greatest we can be. We are chained down by past failures and self-doubt. We worry that striving to be the greatest at anything is a sign of absolute arrogance.

In some ways, believing we are awful at something is an easier path to take. There's less pressure. If you don't have any talent, there's no need to be concerned that your squandering your gift. If you recognize that you are really good at something, it means long hours of getting even better at it and facing a hard struggle to actually produce something with that talent.

Anyone willing to try creating anything needs to armor themselves with at least a little bit of arrogance. It's the only way to push through the doubt.

Writers face an onslaught of rejection. We get told "no" all the time, so it's always been easy for me to harbor self-doubt about my writing. The truth is I've always been terrified every time I put a piece of my writing out into the public domain. I tell myself it's not good enough, and everyone will hate it.

Well, some people probably will hate it. Not every piece I write is going to resonate with ever reader and that's okay. But it's definitely past time I stop telling myself I'm not any good because publications keep buying my stuff. There are editors out there who have read my work and decided it's good enough to grace their publications. My stories have beat out hundreds of other submissions, not just once, but multiple times. Granted, my rejections always will outnumber my acceptances, but that's just the nature of publication.

My stuff wins out on a regular basis, and I really need to accept that means I'm a pretty good writer. I need to learn to accept that because if I'm going to make any headway, I need to keep putting stuff out there. I need to take more risks with what I'm willing to write. I need to plunge headlong into the sea of rejections that are going to come my way and ignore them all because I know I have talent.

I'm a good writer. I'm not yet a great writer, but I'm free to become great.


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