Turning Tricks

It’s amazing how often the best of us undermine ourselves and sell our dreams short. We live in an age of unprecedented creative expression; the Internet and social media (while seriously flawed) has afforded ingenious minds the opportunity to connect with audiences far beyond their physical reach. While my blog is relatively small compared to some, I still have followers in counties like India, Libya, Egypt and a myriad of other places I had never imagined my words would reach. Yet for all this creative expression and acceptance of art, so many of us are so full of self-doubt that we unwillingly commit self-sabotage every time we post something.

Counterintuitive isn’t it? How can we be expressing ourselves and amassing an audience in far reaching locations, yet lynch our efforts all at once?

The answer: by degrading ourselves and our works through by using bullshit words like aspiring or would-be.

Every single day I receive countless emails from bloggers all over the globe who are reaching out hoping to connect with a like-minded soul. I try to respond to as many of them as I can, but the truth is that sometimes I’m stretched so thin that emails pile up and it takes me weeks to get back to that beautiful soul who took the time to contact me. My time management has always been fairly shit, but I try my best. I love hearing from people; even the ones that choose to rat me out or create malicious posts about me on public forums. But after three years of reading and responding to countless emails there’s a definitive trend that I’ve noticed in the contact I have with others.

It goes like this:

Dear Chris,

            I am an aspiring writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…

Or like this:

Dear Chris,

            I am a would-be writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…

…Fuck that. You’re not an aspiring anything. If you have a blog, or a band, or a half completed manuscript or business plan then you’ve made it and you’re selling yourself short by placing a bullshit adjective in front of whom you really are. You’re a goddamn writer, or musician, or artist so quit allowing your self-doubt to sabotage the brilliance within you. Stand up and show the world who you are and what you are creating because chances are it’s magnificent. And even if it’s not, you should stand proud knowing that you have breathed life into a labour of love.

There’s a real disparity between the truly talented and the snake oil peddlers who would love to convince you that they are. Trust me, it’s a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way. Take a look at the URL at the top of this page and you’ll note the word would-be in it. Even I was an aspiring writer at one point.

While these snake oil peddlers occupy space and become recognized not for their talent but their smooth tongue, the best of us tend to hold back; we toil over our crafts and work towards our dreams in near silence. We want to be heard, but we want to save face and distance ourselves from the possibility that our works won’t be well received. That adjective aspiring allows us a safety net if we fall short when reaching for our dreams. We can give up and say ‘I was an aspiring artist once. Sadly it didn’t work out.’

And so often it doesn’t. Not because we’re undeserving, and not because we aren’t talented enough to succeed. But because you allow yourself to be comfortable with the idea of failure by saying that you never quite got there in the first place.

Alright. Let’s pause and take a moment, because I’m sure that I’ve upset a few people. Let’s just cool off. You can swear at your screen if you want to. Call me names; tell me I’m being unfair. But I’d be willing to wager a bet that if you look within yourself you would struggle to tell me that I’m wrong.

So why do it? Why put yourself through that degradation that breaks your hopes and dreams just as they’re coming to fruition? Why limit yourself to just being someone who aspires to be more? Why not stand up, pull back those slouched shoulders and say ‘I’m not aspiring towards shit. I’ve already made it?’ Why not embrace that you are a writer/musician/artist or whatever else? Why keep turning tricks and selling yourself short?

You’re talented. You’re brilliant. And you’re beautiful. But you’re your own worst enemy. You can be whoever the hell you want to be. You’ve just got to stand up and show the world who that is. I love hearing from my readers. I really do. I love hearing of their successes, their lessons learned through failure, and their hopes and dreams for the future. But the thing I love the most is when someone sends me an email that starts by saying:

Dear Chris,

            I am a writer/musician/artist/entrepreneur/whatever…

Because I know right from that very first line that the man or woman contacting me isn’t afraid to open their heart to the world and let their creativity flow. They’re bold enough to be themselves and stand proudly beside their accomplishments.

It’s time to let go of your way out and ditch that shitty little adjective. Quit turning tricks and selling yourself short. Stand up and stake your claim. You deserve it.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

83 thoughts on “Turning Tricks”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m quite new to this whole blogging thing, but I’m taking a travel writing class online, and I already bought business cards. I know some people in my family think that I’m ‘putting the cart before the horse’ so to speak. But I completely agree with you. If you don’t put yourself out there 100% you never know if you’ll make it because you never really tried. Personally, I just keep barreling ahead because I know that I can and will be successful. It’s nice to read something from a like-minded individual.

  2. Lordy, you don’t mix your words now, do you? 🙂
    Maybe it’s the passion you have inside your veins spilling out. Lol
    Whatever it is, it’s Chris and Chris is very honest with his words. A refreshing change. Hugs Paula xx

  3. If i could like this a hundred times i definitely would! we sell ourselves short so much. I am ready to stand up and be counted..”hi..I’m marskimani and I’m a writer!”

  4. Well, even though I’ve published one book and have another book in the pre-order stage I still get a bit hesitant in calling myself an author. Thank you for the kick in the butt. … So, I would like to formally introduce myself as Isabelle Connors author of the Undying Love series. 😁😎

  5. I ama writer… 🙂
    It feels so good to just express that a it is. II am experienced in many different roles that require good customein the retail department but also behind the till. My last role consisted of a more direct approach to marketing and as I was confronted with a variety of different situations I am adept at communicating with a m captivateby r blog honestly.

    1. Whoops sorry for the typo my tablet pasted out some other text.
      What I was trying to say is I am captivated by your blogging style. 🙂

  6. You are a brilliant writer – thank you, thank you and thank you for this post! It’s a much needed pep talk to everyone out there who is writing in their journals, their blogs, for publishers, or just even entertaining the thought of being an “aspiring [profession]”. I think what could have been a humblebrag at one stage has become a safety harness that’s holding back a plethora of creative minds out there – this post is just what’s needed! Good on you 🙂

  7. This post has really helped me. I’ve always been afraid to admit that I want to be a writer. My blog is very new, and has a very (very) small following, but I can proudly call myself a writer at the very least!
    Thank you for this and for liking one of my posts. If you get a chance I would love your opinion or any tips on how to grow my little site. http://www.pinksuburbia.com

  8. Dear Chris,
    No swearing please. It give the blog more dignity if you don’t (although I sometimes do i – but sparingly and tastefully – never as a reflex action)

  9. Thanks for this post. I am a blogger and a writer. Though it has only been less than a month writing for my new blog!! I am a stay-at-home mom and just the other day I was telling my husband that now I am a Blogger, However less time it has been that I have started out, but I am a blogger and a writer now!

  10. Great post and so true for most of us. I’m new to blogging but with each additional post I feel more confident in calling myself a writer. Thanks for liking my latest post and I look forward to reading more of yours!

  11. Wow, this was awesome! I’ve always added “aspiring”, especially in high school, because I’ve never thought I was good enough of a writer, so I stuck on the word “aspiring”. Now that you put it into words though, it makes sense.

    Awesome post!

  12. Reblogged this on Cascading Through Creativity and commented:
    For all my creative minded friends! This is a post for you.

    I noticed that I have always tended to add “aspiring”, especially in high school, to whatever I wanted to be because I didn’t think I was good enough to be a writer, or a musician, or an artist. Even now, I still consider myself to be an aspiring artist. I’ve never thought I was good enough of a writer, so I stuck on the word “aspiring”.

    Through the years, I’ve come to realize that I am a pretty good writer. I still have doubts – all the time – but I like what I write and my ideas and imagination. It’s fun. Sure, there are many – maaaany – things I can work on to improve my writing skills, but I know that I am a writer and I love it.

  13. Hi Chris, I really enjoyed reading this blog. I’m pretty new to blogging and lacking confidence but finally realising that my words are good enough and that, yes, I have a story to tell. I’ve had loads of travel articles published but still never said openly I’m a writer. But finally admist all the self doubts I am starting to feel empowered. Thanks again for your inspiring words …

  14. Thank you. In my head I have written books and memorized them. Right now I have another one forming. They haven’t made it to paper yet. Thank you for giving me the right kind of kick in the bottom.

  15. You are too young to write. What you are really doing is practising. That is what you should be doing if indeed you are serious, but writing about the pain of creativity is longing, not art. I have no idea if you have real talent, but you may not ever find out unless you treat it as what it is, the recounting of experience or the clumsy but beautiful, blindness of living in your own dreams. Really great luck.

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