My bestie, Sharra, was over the other day–and so was my piano tuner, a gentle man with a kind smile. Sharra and I were having coffee, and Sharra was lamenting the fact that though she’d been trying to get a new book contract for a couple of years, nothing good was happening for her.
“I get a lot of praise from my critique partners and fellow authors,” Sharra said. “But maybe everyone is being kind. Maybe I’m just not good enough and I should start thinking about doing something else.”
Maybe, I thought. Sharra is young. She could have a whole new career if she wanted. But I felt bad for her. I knew how much time and effort she’d put into honing her craft. Perfection would be hers even if it killed her.
I completely understood Sharra’s frustration and could relate because I, too, had been having a time of it, trying to get the attention of an agent. But sometimes it’s not a matter of being good enough. Being noticed/getting published also takes a bit of luck…talking to the right agent/publisher at the right time. They may not be interested in the type of book you’re currently trying to sell. Doesn’t mean they don’t think you have talent.
Even so, it’s hard to stay positive, and two cups of coffee and several chocolate chip cookies later, Sharra and I ended our discussion with a question on both our lips. How do you know if you’re good enough? When is it time to admit you’ve hit a dead end?
“I don’t need to be perfect,” Sharra said, standing at my door, looking lost. “I just want some acknowledgement I’m on the right path. That I have enough talent…that I should continue writing.” And then my piano guy spoke up.
“If you’ve already been published, you’re good enough. It’s not your job to decide your worth as a writer. Someone decided that for you when they published your first book. It’s your job to write.”
With those few kind words, Sharra left my house with a renewed sense that she’s exactly who she was meant to be. And I have a new appreciation for the man who services my piano. He let me know that I, too, am good enough.
Has anyone ever lifted you up when you’ve fallen? I’d love to hear about it.