I’m not the best. At anything, it seems. I flunked out of C Ball in Little League. I squeezed four years of high school into five. I’ve written a lot and even won a few awards, but many others are far better writers than I am. I strive for excellence in virtually everything I do; but as a writer, speaker, preacher, literary agent, and blogger, I fall short of “the best.”
Maybe you can identify. “The best” is a “hard row to hoe,” as someone more “country” than I might say. And no matter how gifted or blessed you might be as a writer, there are probably others who are more so.
But guess what? You can be the best. It’s a matter of focus. Wisdom. Choice.
In fact, no matter how disadvantaged you may be—or feel—and regardless of how many rejections or frustrations you face, I think I can identify at least twenty things that you can be “the best” at as a writer, if you so choose:
- Writing bad first drafts
- Starting over
- Reading widely
- Reading deeply
- Receiving critique
- Welcoming (e.g., in your writers group or at a conference)
- Encouraging other writers (on social media, for instance)
- Reviewing (e.g., posting ratings or reviews of others’ books)
- Rejoicing with others
When you look at it like that, the strains and struggles of the writing life become much brighter, don’t they? There may not be many contests to enter or awards to earn for the list above; but if you were to choose to be the “prayingest,” “encouragingest,” or “smilingest” writer out there, you’d have a great shot. And you’d have a great time as you do, instead of all that gloomy focusing on submissions and contracts and publishing. Am I right? Of course, I’m right. Because I’m the best at being right.