Humility is a word I’ve learned to use more often nowadays. A few years back, I would have laughed in your face and demonstrated in all possible ways how humble I was, and how I didn’t need to get humbler because truly, I was the humblest out there.
Fact. I was the cockiest jerk alive. And I believed my life revolved around hitting the bestseller list, becoming a millionaire by selling books, and being worshiped like a god because I deserved it. All this hard work trying to be a successful author, it couldn’t be wasted. Had the devil showed up at my door, I’d have signed a contract right here and there to sell my soul for fame and fortune. No matter the consequences, material achievement was my primary goal.
Needless to say, all this cockiness led me nowhere but straight into a wall. Have you ever watched the movie Young Adult starring Charlize Theron? She portrays a successful YA author, who has no real friends, drinks herself into oblivion, tries to rekindle a relationship with her ex knowing he’s moved on since breaking up with her, and all she does is drive herself more insane, day by day, thinking she’s the hottest and smartest, and treating everyone else around her like crap because look at her, she’s was successful once!
Yeah, well, somehow, I was her. And it took a good slap in the face to understand material gain meant nothing if I wasn’t humble, and truly meant it, not pretended it. Humility takes work. It’s much easier to tell people to go eff themselves, than to realize I am in the wrong. Humility comes with maturity. And just because I manage to stay off my high horse one day doesn’t mean I’m not going to jump on it tomorrow, so constant reminders I’m not the hottest piece out there is mandatory homework if I want to stay sane.
I often compared myself to other authors and thought the worst about their work, without really taking a close look at my own writing, and realizing, well, my work needs serious improvement. Why spend so much time focusing on what others were doing wrong, and think I already knew everything? I lacked humility.
Today, I put things in perspective. I understand we all go at our own pace, and some go faster than others, some win prizes before I do, and you know what? It’s fine. I’m happy for them. I’m not going to spend time dissecting every word out of your story, and highlighting all the mistakes. It’s not my job. I’m here to improve myself. Not judge.
No matter where this adventure takes me, to a bestselling title or not, I’m not looking for fame and fortune. All I’m trying to do is express myself to the best of my abilities. The bitter and egocentric me has been chained down to the radiator in the basement of my writing castle, and I’m not letting this fucker out.
I’m done being an ass.