In any creative field, there are going to be people in life that tell you not to pursue your dreams and there will be those that encourage you. It ultimately becomes a fine line of balancing stubbornness and humility in our minds. Sometimes we do steer too far one way or the other, because we are human. There will be times in your life where you feel down about your work. There will also be times where you think nothing can ever pull you down from the clouds. It’s like a roller coaster. That is okay. Most of the time, creative work is fueled by emotions and you will experience these highs and lows. If anything, embrace them for what they are. Be aware of how they influence your craft and don’t let them get the best of you, because it can be harmful.
Stubbornness has many good characteristics about it. It gives you the ability to ignore negative talk. It can help fake confidence and push aside your own insecurities. Stubbornness will help you deal with the naysayers who will warn you about the high risks and low rewards that come with a creative line of work. In this case, building a writing career. It will also help you thicken your skin when people criticize your work – especially online.
Being stubborn will also help you deal with rejection when submitting to publishers or agents. There are close to 2 million books published a year and that is not counting all of the unpublished manuscripts during this period. So no wonder why so many books get rejected or why it is a challenge to have your book stand out among the noise. Great authors have dealt with rejections and poor sales countless times before their books become a success.
Being stubborn doesn’t mean you are super human. Negativity can weigh us down and we buy into “I can’t do it”. So if you need to, sulk around for a little bit but don’t ever quit. Learn from the criticism and grow thicker skin. In the long run it will help your writing and help you become a stronger person.
On the flip side, we can get the best of compliments and praise from an audience or from reviews. This can inflate the ego and you might think you’re the next Stephen King. Being overly confident in your abilities makes you arrogant and unable to see the flaws in your own work. People will also find it more difficult to deal with you because you become too stubborn and do not know how to be flexible and listen.
Humility grants you the freedom from being egotistical of your work. You’ll listen to people better and actually respect what people have to say. You won’t let their words effect your psyche. This helps you take in feedback from reviewers, colleagues and friends about your writing and apply it accordingly. You’re no longer worried about your feelings being hurt because your interest lies in making your work the best it can possibly be.
Now, being too humble does have its downsides, you might become overly passive in the way you receive complements and your surroundings. You may miss opportunities that the stubborn, goal-driven mind can see. You might pass off a chance to talk about your work at a panel or give a presentation about it because you don’t want to boast about your writing. It’s not bragging though, if you’re a writer you have to talk about your work, people want to know the author.
Balancing Stubbornness and Humility
Being overly invested in one or the other can cause some struggles. Too stubborn makes you arrogant and if you are too humble, you might not pursue opportunities. So you have to ride this fine line that is somewhere in the grey. Being stubborn and believe your work is good will help you battle through the negativity and give you the strength to toot your own horn. Being humble will allow you to self-reflect and keep you likable.