#IWSG: This-or-That-ism

Hello, friends, and welcome to another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!  If you’re a writer and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here to learn more about this amazingly supportive group!

This month, I should be bragging about finishing the A to Z Challenge. Also, I should probably be plugging my novella-length Sci-Fi story, which is now available for preorder on Amazon (click here!!!).  But there’s something else I want to talk about today.  Something more important.

There’s a certain attitude that I’m sure we’ve all encountered on the Internet, but it’s troublingly common in everyday life too.  I call it this-or-that-ism.  In the mind of a this-or-that-ist, everything is either this or that.  There’s no middle ground.  There’s no spectrum or continuum of possibilities.  There are no shades of grey.  And if you don’t conform to the standard definition of this, then you must be that.

This-or-that-ists come down hard on a lot of people, but in my experience they come down hardest on creative folks: artists, actors, writers, poets, musicians, etc….  This is especially true when creative people are relatively new to their craft.  Why?  Because when you’re just starting out, you obviously aren’t a huge mega success yet; therefore, you must be an abject failure.

As you may have guessed, there are a few this-or-that-ists in my life, people who feel the need to inform me that I’m no J.K. Rowling, no Stephen King, no James Patterson.  And since I’m not one of those super rich, super famous authors, well… I think you know what the this-or-that-ists are insinuating.

Fortunately, there’s always been a little voice in my head—I call her my muse—who keeps encouraging me.

So today, I’d like to say the same thing to you, because if a few words from my imaginary friend can help me, then perhaps a few words from some guy on the Internet can help you.  So to anyone who may need to hear this:

Whoever you are, whatever you’re trying to achieve, I believe in you.  I think you can do it.  I know you can do it.  So your work isn’t perfect yet?  That doesn’t mean it’s a disaster.  You aren’t a runaway mega-success?  That doesn’t make you a failure.  Keep practicing, keep learning, and keep improving.  And no matter where your own journey takes you, remember that you are worthy of respect and you are worthy of love, and your work deserves a chance to be seen or read or heard.

In a world full of this-or-that-ism, these are things that need to be said more often to all creative folks.

Next time on Planet Pailly, is this COVID-19 thing over yet?  No?  Okay, then I am not lowering my guard.