How do you know if you’re good?

You can google that questions. It will give you seven ways to know if you’re a good person, ways to be good in bed, and ways to be a good kisser. But nothing that really says “this is how you know that you’re good.”

Try “at something” and it gives you a list of questionnaires to find out your strengths and weaknesses, and tricks and tips to finding your talent.

But how do you really know that you’re good at something? For me it’s writing. I write short stories, I show them to other people, and sometimes they say they are good. Other times they read them and say nothing. Still sometimes they don’t even bother reading them. That’s nothing new though, I’m sure I’ve passed over thousands of books to choose to read the few that I have. There are TV shows I will watch, and rave about, and there are others I won’t even give a second glance. But that doesn’t necessarily speak to weather or not something is good.

Today on Reddit someone asked what the worst part of self publishing was. I said marketing because I have absolutly no idea how to do. I think sometimes it’s just that I don’t have the confidence to do it. I don’t believe in myself enough, I don’t believe that people care what I have to say enough, so I don’t want to bother them with me begging them to buy, read, or review one of my stories. This belief that my words hold no value is ingrained from childhood when I was to be seen and no heard, and a lot of the time I wasn’t even to be seen. It’s a hard thing to undo.

Another person in that forum said they hated marketing because there were tons of books that were better then hers that aren’t getting any love because their writers don’t know how to market, while her books are doing fantastic because she is good at marketing. And there is the crux of the matter. If you know how to market you’re golden. If you don’t… then you’re me. 😉

I do get fantastic comments on my books sometimes, and I read them all because it’s so encouraging. The comments, wherever they find me, have been helpful in keeping me going in between publications.

But am I good? I don’t know. Perhaps time will tell. All I know is that for right now… I’m good enough. I’ve gotten to a place in my writing that I think I’m doing pretty good. Not everything is golden, not everything is solid, but the things I put out are decent and I would read them if I hadn’t written them. Isn’t that as much as you can ask, especially when you’re first starting out?

I hope some day to know weather or not I was good at writing. Until then I plan to just keep getting better, and keep putting things out. Eventually something is bound to touch someone.


4 thoughts on “How do you know if you’re good?

  1. It might be a bit hackneyed, but I think a better question is, “Am I better?” As in, are you better than you were five years ago, or even six months ago? If the answer to that is yes, then I think that’s all that matters.

    I totally agree with you on the marketing. There are so many successful authors that were marketeers in their former jobs. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I do my best, but I never get the results they do.

    • I think “am I better” is an awesome question, but sometimes you want to know you’re good enough before you put stuff out for others to read it. After all, my drawings are way better then they were five years ago, but I don’t think I’d try and make money off them yet.

      And yes, the marketing aspect is tricky. Even if you are good at writing there are no guarantees you’ll sell any books. If people don’t know you’re there then they can’t buy it.

      • That’s true. I shudder to think if I’d have put the first novel I wrote on Amazon.

        At the same time, I was part of a critique group where nothing was ever good enough. That was discouraging.

        In the end, there might be nothing better than an editor. Just hopefully one that has a gentle way of breaking bad news 🙂

      • Yep. I did the editor with the sharp red pen and no compliments. She was really really good at what she did, but my anxieties and self recriminations couldn’t handle the lack of enthusiasm. I need my editor to love my writing, to be enthusiastic about it, so that I feel that I’m going to be putting out something others will love too.

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