I recall a time when I thought I was a hot-as-shit writer.
That was fun.
Now I’m content with being a not-totally-shit writer.
Still working on the “not-totally-shit” part.
Above is prompted by conversation where I was asked if all 20-something writers had unreasonably high evaluations of their own writing talent. The 20-something person in question was saying they didn’t win a writing competition because the judges just didn’t realize the genius of what they wrote and I was prompted to say if I had ever felt the same. I was never quite that confident, but I’ve known people who were and I wasn’t far behind them. But I balanced my high opinions of my own writing with multiple rejection letters taped to the inside of my apartment door to remind me that, while I thought I was pretty awesome, no one was paying me for that opinion.
My response was, “Well, that just means they didn’t run into someone who was honest with them about their actual talents. Or, if they did run into someone who was frank and knowledgeable, they didn’t listen.”
I think my own impression of my writing had been abundantly tempered with a hefty dose of reality over the years. I’m still learning my “craft” (though I loath that word almost as much as I loath the word “wordsmith”), even at my advanced age. If what I write doesn’t resonate with others, it is not their fault — the fault is mine. I lack the skill to get something in particular to resonate. However, I’m at a stage where I’m not trying to necessarily resonate, but explore boundaries and stretch beyond horizons. Honestly, that’s not going to work for some people and I know that. And I am okay with that.
I’m not an unrealized genius. I’m an old fart who likes to play around with language in his all-too-abundant free time. Sometimes it works. Most times it doesn’t.