Expectations (Wisdom of the 12-Steps)
Bottom line: “Suit up and show up,” and “Keep coming back.” To a writer that means, Sit down and write, temper your expectations, submit more work and accept the rejections . . . then, rinse and repeat.
Our expectations abound in life. We expect the sun to rise tomorrow, whether we observe it or not. We expect gravity to pull us towards mother earth, even when we prefer it not. We all share a common set of expectations in life. Then, there are expectations less commonly shared.
Here's my encounter with one of mine, to which I suspect you can relate on the general level, if not specifically.
A few months ago, near completion of my website design, I found myself in a funk and wondered, What’s this about? My consultant, Rachel Sarah Thurston, had impressed upon me the importance of branding myself. (Though, heaven forbid, not in the sense of ranch hands tattooing cattle with hot iron!) In a very real way, I'm a novice in branding and marketing myself as a writer, at least in a conscious, deliberate manner presentable as a professional image.
I’m talking “brand,” that which differentiates one company from another, or music band from another, etc. It’s a marketing thing, and essential when you want, you need, to get noticed, to stand out from the crowd and highlight your “product.” We used to refer to brand as "your bag," and expressing yourself as “doing your own thing” or “letting your freak flag fly.” Those phrases passe, now, of course.
But it’s not easy for me to be specific and narrow myself—like voluntarily confining myself in a box—I’m a jack-of-all-trades kinda guy. When it comes to me as “the brand” . . . well, it feels superficial, like I’m trying to convince somebody of my worth. And I HATE that. My inclination is to take a trip to Rantville and cop an attitude, Hey, see me . . . I’m an earthling. Isn’t that f***in’ good enough for ya? But apparently, among the seven-billion others of us, that won’t likely generate interest in reading my work. And I’ve heard you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar! You know, the finesse approach.
So considering the bigger scheme, the long term, I pondered writing a blog about the12-Steps of Recovery, create "brand" around that, along with a theme of hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). But from what angle would I write about the 12-Steps? Would I even need an angle? Been done, that street corner claimed? I’m not saying I’m the end-all, know-all about the 12-Steps of Recovery, but I know a fair amount as a result of working in alcoholism and drug addiction treatment for twenty-five years.
Rachel suggested, “Start your own Facebook group,” among a number of encouragements. (More on this saga at a later date?)
My initial thoughts? Sure, then what? I gotta make rules, manage, monitor, patrol, police my group? I want to live and let live, not chase down bad behavior.
Instead, I searched for Facebook groups regarding the 12-Steps, found several, each with similar rules: no spam, no solicitations, no self-promotions.
Damn . . . can’t use those groups to promote my work? Can’t suggest? Mention? Hint? So, then what?
At a somewhat dead-end, I stumbled onto one group based on sharing humor related to 12-Steps.
I need some levity. Don’t we all, now and then? Oh, what the hell? Yeah, join that one. At least, maybe that one isn’t always serious.
But, joining that FB group didn’t suffice. My inner writer squirmed and my fingers twitched, finally compelling me to sit and write . . . something . . . anything. The realization dawned—step 10, "Continued to take personal inventory. . . ."—my own “stinking thinking” fear of rejection had created my virtual dead-end.
And with that, I inched forward on my healing and writing journey, and posted the first blog of my series on the “Wisdom of the 12-Steps.”
Photo Credit: Pexels - Sergei Akulich