September 13, 2019

The Downside of Unpopularity

Never have I ever... been popular. And I (for the most part) really don't care. I have a fulfilling life, surrounded by people I love. Except that life seems to be one big popularity contest.

How do we elect our politicians? How do we select our employees (if not by merit)? How do we pick the restaurants where we eat and the stores where we shop? Why do we buy certain brands or products? A New York Times Bestseller sells more copies than a book published by an indie author. A person with a huge social following will get more views, likes, shares, and comments.

The truth is...popularity is important to success. And, on a day like today, when I feel sick (I have a cold) and all my other physical symptoms are consequently exasperated, it's very difficult to stay positive.

This is not a new feeling... Maybe I was already coming down with a cold when I wrote that tweet. I hate to be the writer who moans and groans about low readership, threatening to quit writing forever. I'm not going to stop writing, but half of being a writer feels like despairing under the heavy umbrella of self-doubt.

I saw a tweet, the other day, asking to dismiss the belief that you need to be damaged to be a good artist. But the truth is, we are all damaged in our own way. We carry our flaws, our mistakes, our heartaches, our tragedies. It is what we do with this baggage that counts.

I am the sum total of everything that has ever happened to me. If I had a time machine, there are definitely moments in my life I'd like to do-over. But, if we've learned anything from time travel fiction, it's that even a small, insignificant change can cause drastic ripples in the future.

So, here's my ween... I'm sick. My throat hurts. My head hurts. I'm dizzy. No one is reading / buying my work. What am I even doing here? And, here's my counter-ween... I'm alive. I have a unique story to tell. And tell it, I will. Maybe tomorrow when I feel a little better.

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