When I first started this blog, I felt like a total idiot.
Here I was, writing down literally every thought and feeling (sometimes I have a tendency to overshare, and then I look back on things I’ve written and I’m like, “Julia, c’mon, man.”) and putting a lot of energy into approaching my blog with a sense of professionalism, and yet I knew very few people were actually reading my work.
I soon realized that if I was in fact going to get any type of readership, I was going to have to promote myself, and thus I began a further exploration into feeling like a self-obsessed, wanna-be famous blogger (ugh, really, who genuinely wants to be identified as a blogger? Gross. Side-note: One time I worked at an event for Mommy Bloggers, and before the event started my boss took us all aside and said, “Okay, now, no one will use the words ‘Mommy Bloggers’ during these event. They hate that. They are writers. Who also happen to be moms. Who only write about being moms. And who do so using an online medium called blogs.”).
So I (slightly reluctantly) did a few things:
I created a Facebook page to specifically promote my blog (embarrassment).
I had a friend take professional photos of me holding such witty things like donuts and a book (I don’t read books! What is happening?!) I could use for promotional images (the shame!).
I changed my email signature to “Julia, Writer” (who does she think she is?!).
And when the lady who files my taxes asked me if I’m also a writer in addition to being a virgin sexpert (my words, not hers), I didn’t bother to correct her (the audacity! the sheer optimism!).
I knew what I was doing was necessary to promote my work, but most of the time (and still a lot of the time) I was really worried about what people would think.
It’s one thing if someone who has already achieved a certain amount of recognition or success openly promotes themselves as a writer, actor, artist, etc. When this happens, it never strikes me as weird because, well, those people have had their work and dreams validated through success. They have “earned” that identity, so to speak.
For me, I was worried that people would laugh at me, or see me as stuck up or foolish to think others were actually interested in what I was doing and wanted more of it.
If you want to pursue your dreams, really pursue them, you must be willing to be vulnerable.
You have to to willing to feel like an idiot, to put both yourself and your work out there for other people to either embrace or brush off. You have to be willing to be in love with a dream that may fail you sometimes, and realize that other people will more than likely witness your failures along with your triumphs.
I’ve realized that in order to get where I want to be, I have to be willing to look a little silly at first (and maybe forever), whether that be creating a Facebook fan page that doesn’t get much traffic or declaring myself a writer when people ask me what I do.
What I’ve gathered so far is that putting myself out there and pursuing my dream is a little like wearing an edgy outfit: It’s only weird if I don’t totally own it.
So I’m practicing owning my dream, even if achieving it means sometimes feeling like an idiot (cause idiots finish first, and you can quote me on that when I get famous).