Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Nobody’s Heard of You (and That’s a Good Thing): The Advantages of Anonymity

When F. Scott Fitzgerald finished The Great Gatsby and sent it to friends, fellow authors, and critics for feedback, he received one of two responses. Neither was particularly encouraging.

books

One group said it wasn’t any good. In fact, this was the majority opinion of the work, which didn’t sell that well in Fitzgerald’s lifetime. H.L. Mencken called it “no more than a glorified anecdote” and referred to the author as “this clown.”

A bit more bluntly, Ruth Snyder wrote, “We are quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of today.”

The second group, however, was even worse. They liked the book and wondered what Fitzgerald would do next. And that was the problem. After Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s career and life would descend into an abyss from which he would never escape. As a prominent writer of the 1920s who quickly rose to fame and success, making ten times the average income of his peers, he was just as soon forgotten.

Fitzgerald never really bounced back from that failure. By all accounts, he was a sensitive soul and didn’t cope well with rejection. His personal life fell apart, too, when his wife Zelda who had been cheating on him was admitted to a mental hospital, and he was left to raise their daughter.

In need of money, he moved to Hollywood to write screenplays and struggled with alcoholism until his untimely death at age 44.

No matter how you look at it, it’s a sad story. What I can’t help but wonder is if the pressure to write something even better than Gatsby was one of the causes for Fitzgerald’s short-lived career, and for that matter, his life.

This is a problem we don’t often acknowledge: the trappings of success sometimes hurt more than they help. So why do we still strive for it?

Why being anonymous can be an advantage

Often, I find myself imagining what it would be like to be more successful. I wish more people read my books or that I had begun writing earlier or that I had saved more money. I regret wasting so much time and worry that I’ll never “catch up” — to what, I’m not sure.

We writers don’t like to admit we think about such things, but many of us do. As an online teacher, I tend to run into people who share similar longings:

  • “Yeah, I’d love to write, but who would read it?”
  • “Is it too late for me to start now? If only I would have started earlier…”
  • “It doesn’t matter how you good I am or how hard I try. Nobody knows who I am.”

​Occasionally, I even regret how I began my writing career and wonder what it would have been like to publish my first book to universal acclaim, as Fitzgerald did. What would it be like to be an early bloomer? Maybe not everything I imagine.

As it turns out, there are hidden opportunities to the invisibility and irrelevance we all fear. And when you embrace those opportunities, you end up creating better work. We might think of these as “The Advantages of Anonymity.” Here are a few examples:

  • When you’re anonymous, you can try new things. Fame brings pressure to perform, which can lead to playing it safe and not taking the kind of risks that make for interesting work. But when nobody knows who you are, you can experiment without expectation.
  • When you’re anonymous, you can fail quietly. This means you can attempt projects that may not work and learn from them without public shaming. You can iterate more easily and less conspicuously.
  • When you’re anonymous, you can get better faster. Because you’re not worried about what people will think or trying to live up to your last success, you can use all that energy to practice. It’s often easier to grow your craft in the shadows than in the spotlight.

Granted, we all want our work to succeed, but we forget there’s a shadow side to sudden success: it usually doesn’t last. Fast fame is the quickest to fade. And so perhaps, what we should want more than sudden success is the opportunity to create enduring work.

The opportunity of invisibility

Scott Fitzgerald’s last royalty check before he died was for $13. At the time, The Great Gatsby was practically out of print and couldn’t be found anywhere. What copies had been bought were apparently by Fitzgerald himself. A once-promising writer who was writing movie scripts just to survive now considered himself a failure, and that consideration killed him.

These days, we love to glamorize failure. But we forgot how painful and demotivating failure can be, how more often than not it demoralizes a person from ever attempting anything again.

There is, however, another side to failure: we can choose how we see our circumstances. Fitzgerald didn’t have to consider himself a failure. He wasn’t. He’d already published This Side of Paradise to literary and popular acclaim. He didn’t have to drink himself into oblivion or fade into obscurity. He could have kept going, kept working.

And if he had done that, he may have lived to see the success of his greatest work yet.

One potential cause for the downfall of this great author may have been the pressure he placed on himself after having achieved incredible success so early.

Maybe he would not have lived so extravagantly so that he wasn’t later forced to take on gigs he did not want just to pay the bills. He may not have drunk himself to death or given up writing novels in exchange for screenplays. Maybe he would have been able to endure the criticism long enough to see people to recognize the genius of Gatsby, which would have come had he lived another 20 years.

It’s easy, of course, to judge the past with the perspective of the present. But I don’t judge Fitzgerald. I empathize with his struggle to produce something great. And what I recognize in his story is the gift in being largely invisible to most people. It encourages me when I sometimes wish I were a bigger deal than I am. This invisibility means I can move more deftly. And so can you.

Three lessons of anonymity

​So what do we take away from this, if we have not yet written a great American novel? A few things:

First, nobody’s heard of you and that’s okay. Embrace the gift of invisibility and use it to your advantage. Try bold things. Practice without the pressure of having to perform.

Second, don’t disparage being the underdog. There’s an advantage to being the person nobody expects anything from: many people will want to help you. Embrace this place and let them. Once you reach the top, the same people who helped you get there will now want to tear you down. That’s a hard place to be and an even harder place to stay. So don’t rush it.

Third, enjoy your failures quietly. If you try scary things and they don’t work, nobody notices. Success brings with it a lot of expectation, and that generally doesn’t make for great creative work. So enjoy the opportunity you have that Fitzgerald missed out on, which is to fall on your face without anybody talking about it.

The truth is there are special privileges reserved for the unlikely and overlooked, and we tend to forget them. This is natural, of course, because we all want the success we see other people having. But let’s not forget that there are disadvantages to that, too.

So instead of pining for more success or fame, why not use this time? Don’t avoid the spotlight entirely, but don’t race towards it, either. Build your craft slowly, and let the fanfare come when it does. Be intentional, but not anxious. All great work gets its due eventually.

What hidden advantages exist in your own anonymity? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • David Mike

    I agree with everything you said. I do fall into the, “I regret wasting so much time and worry that I’ll never catch up” category.

    • Me too. :/

      • Ton Bil

        Me too, at age 54. But the tide is changing for me now, and you help me with posts like these. Thanks.

  • Wow, I never thought of it like that. I always despair over being so unknown, and lately it’s been a real downer for me. But this puts a whole new angle on it. I do have the freedom to do crazy things, and I can lay a project down and work on another one without feeling obligated or like I have to perform. Last year, I went through a whole ordeal with self-publishing, only to cancel the whole thing. I am glad for it, because that ‘failure’ led to so many great things I wouldn’t have guessed.
    So not having the pressure of fame, now that you’ve shown me this, is probably a good thing.
    Thanks so much for this article, Jeff, you just turned a lot around for me!

  • Ha ha ha, very funny. It is a quite wise and sarcistic approach that can help me manage my failures, my sense of insanity and my self-esteem. I don’t know what’s the best. To die in the middle of anonymous crowds or live connected with famous writers ? No chance for me to be connected with famous writers who connect with famous writers to becoma more famous in order to connect with popes of litterature !!! With my 103 followers, i feel ridicously happy ( for I had less than 65) three days ago. Noone knows future. I’m still full of joy, appreciating every second of my life. I won’t step back. In my writing process, I met some good friends and wonderful generous people like you, Jeff Goins. Thank you for writing !

  • Virgina Reeves

    At age 65, I finally said NOW and began publishing books on Kindle. I am totally unknown and am not even trying to market at this point. I consider myself successful because I am sharing and validating myself. For years I said I’d take my articles and make them into chapters for a series of books. I’m doing it. Sure, it’d be nice to make money and get known. Right now, my priority is to get the material out. I’m practicing some of what I write about in Permission Granted Today.

    • Estelle Macdonald

      Bravo to you Virginia! When we hear YES DO IT NOW..we must answer the call of passion..Look forward to reading your work!

  • Brooke Fontenot

    I admit that I struggle with being unknown as a writer. It’s difficult to think that hardly anyone is reading my blog, but it does allow me to make mistakes without the whole world knowing. I’m particularly sensitive to people’s opinions of my writing. So, right now I have the advantage of practicing without being worried about the opinions of others.

  • Raj

    I agree with the article. In fact I would like to write with an assumed name always. This is because my interests are in popular side of marketing, however my research career enforces a strict standard on my official writing. If I write using my real name, fellow academics would look down upon me. Is it a good idea to publish books anonymously?

  • Jeff, undoubtedly Gatsby’s acclaim pushed an already hard-drinking Fitzgerald to even harder drinking, and his dissolution and early death is a terrible shame, but some of his other works are very worthy efforts. Tender Is the Night didn’t have great commercial success at first, but it’s a very fine novel, and some of his short stories (like Babylon Revisited) are masterpieces. Even the unfinished Last Tycoon, based on his screenwriting days, has brilliance.

    Definitely early fame took its toll, but (and forgive me for pop psychologizing) Fitzgerald had some depressive tendencies before that the alcohol use exacerbated. I agree with your overall point, but just had to expand on Fitzgerald a bit, because I admire his writing a good deal.

    • I do as well, Tom. And the point was not that failure drove him to drinking. You’re right. He already did that. I think he was slightly insecure and had somewhat of a fragile ego, so when his work didn’t perform to his expectations or the expectations of others, it drove him further down the vortex.

      Here’s the point in a nutshell: the worst thing that happened to a brilliant but insecure writer like Fitzgerald was that he peaked early, and he had LOTS of friends saying even bigger things were to come after his first book. They didn’t, at least not in his lifetime. That, I believe—along with some unfortunate life circumstances—broke him. But what would have happened had he not succeeded too soon? Maybe he would have just kept climbing, kept working, and written even better things.

      I think it’s a sad story, because his is an incomplete career. And maybe that’s the way it was supposed to be. I dunno. My goal is not to judge him. I just imagine millions of writers out there going, “I wish I had THIS success,” not realizing that just might be the worst thing to happen to them.

      I appreciate your feedback, though. I may have overstated my case or simply been a tad hyperbolic, albeit unintentionally, in certain areas.

      • Jeff, it is hard to truly know specifically about Fitzgerald, but I think your points are well-spoken, and relevant to any working artist. It was an “incomplete career” and one that could have had much greater depth (and considerably less sorrow).

        • Agreed. We will never know what could have been. But what was was more than enough for me.

  • I’m a music producer and studio owner and a lot of my inquiries I receive from younger artist has some form of “I’d like to be famous.” It’s funny and definitely misguided. We should, like you said Jeff, not be bothered by the season of anonymity. It’s really a season of growing and getting good at your craft. Thanks for the article today Jeff! Keep it up!

  • Saranit Vongkiatkajorn

    Hey Jeff, thanks for your thoughtful article. You have a great way of challenging the myths of the soritary genius writer as the sobriquet of literary hero. One of the greatest is when the narrative leaves off right after the rebel writer has challenged the status quo and achieved acclaim. Yet, as we know from the early death of Fitzgerald to, I’d argue, the retirement from public life of writers like Salinger and Harper Lee, the earlier and greater the success ; the shorter and and less profilic an actual writing career. Makes one question which spirit of writing we would rather choose to admire and emulate: the heroic archetyle or the writer as ever the aspiring craftsman; the ones who achieved success early or the ones achieved success late like Eric Arthur Blair or Henry Miller. Also, maybe this is why establish writers in one genre choose to write under a nom de plum when they try something in another genre; gives them room to fail quietly.

    Thanks for an inspiring read. Look forward to your weekly articles.

  • MikeCopelin

    I really needed this and it came at just the right time. I’m one of those Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim…people and it turns into this vicious cycle where I keep feeling guilty for not applying myself sooner to the point that I don’t apply myself now. I was just writing out something to myself to stop worrying about what you haven’t done and embrace where you are, and then got an email with your blog post. Anonymity can be a good thing once you relax and stop worrying about all the what if’s. This is practically your (Jeff’s) story. Once you stopped worrying about everyone else and concentrated on who you were everything began to come together. From today forward I’m done with guilt and self blame because I can assure you it accomplishes nothing. I wouldn’t trade places with the most successful writer alive (well, the money might not be that bad) because it wouldn’t be my on unique story. I remember Zig used to say that “you are the only one that can utilize your potential….it’s an awesome responsibility.”

  • This could not have come at a better time for me. I’ve been discouraged by my own expectations not being met and unreasonable expectation I had for others not being met. This article helps me see the benefits of being a nobody blogger because I have a lot of ideas and this is the best time to try them out. I don’t have to wait, nor do I really want to wait for the masses to come only to see some of these ideas fail. Better to experiment now, who knows, maybe one of these ideas is the one that will propel me and my blog into having a bigger influence and readership. Thanks for this perspective, Jeff. I would be lost on this creative journey without you.

    • So glad to hear this, Lisa! Be encouraged.

  • Cynthia Ann Leighton

    Thanks for helping me feel better about this phase of starting life over! I am writing, so I am a writer, however small what I am able to do right now may be.

  • I came to landscape painting later in life, squeezing it in after my demanding day job. I met other artists who were often stressed out to make ends meet. I found my day job salary allowed the freedom to paint what I wanted, and develop my own artistic path. Artistic anonymity has its benefits, as you wisely point out. Thanks, Jeff!

  • samuel chauke

    Being unknown is a good platform to perfect yourself

    • Succinctly and poignantly put, Samuel.

  • samuel chauke

    The good think of being unknown is that you can do whatever you want at no pressure. Amazon.com/author/samuelchauke

  • Man, this couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Right now, my first book project is in the editor’s hands. So scary and what I have gotten from him so far is “I really, really like what I read.” Now that encourages me tremendously, because at last, my voice is being read by at least one. In all of this, there is the ministry of reconcilation that happens in the silence of life, that even though no one reads your stuff, there is a healing that goes on in the private places of our hearts and minds. So simply said, “I feel ya!” and I am along with you in the wrestling of writing and being unknown, and such. Thank you for showing up in a timely manner, as good mentors do. Thank you!

  • John U. Gunter

    I’d like to make a fortune, but I don’t really want to be ‘famous’. I have no problem with writing from anonymity, and the points you make are substantial.

  • I can’t say I’m famous, but I’ve had my spurts in “niche” communities. I miss the early days in each of those niches, for they had (as you said) the “gift of invisibility” that is so impossible to have again. Do you sort of wish for those times, too?

    • I do, sometimes. I wish I would have recognized them for the gifts they were.

  • Did you know that the Eagles’ classic “Hotel California” was about the band’s early fame? It sort of changes the whole song for you, don’t it.

    “You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave!”

  • Marsha Ingrao

    Great way to look at the slow road to success. It encouraged me today. 🙂

  • Benjamin Moore

    Thanks for such good content Jeff. I definitely see these in the place I’m at right now on my blog benmooreonline.com. I was thinking today how much I’m enjoying writing. And if was getting more traffic I might feel to much pressure to produce something immaculate. Thanks for confirming what I was thinking. Keep up the good work! God bless

  • Danie Botha

    Thanks, Jeff!
    Will stop fretting and keep going at a steady pace!

  • Leland Best

    The three reasons you give as the “advantages of anonymity” are all fear based in nature. Why live in fear when you can simply expose yourself and face it?

    • I’m not sure I follow. Sorry, Leland. The ability to practice without being criticized feels like a good thing to me. I think most people would acknowledge that once people are paying attention, that pressure to perform can adversely affect the work if you aren’t ready for the exposure. It did for Fitzgerald.

      • Leland Best

        Jeff, I’ll take the liberty to go into a little more detail here:

        “When you’re anonymous, you can try new things.” – The fear to take risks in the light of other’s opinions is part and parcel with the third statement below, the fear of trying new things is prevalent in many common phobias.

        “When you’re anonymous, you can fail quietly.” To “fail quietly” is the preferred method of those with a fear of failure. Trying to hide behind a mask doesn’t rectify or eliminate the cause of the failure at hand. Failing without showing you can get back up after a fall, really gets you nowhere. How can one truly know they failed without a full spectrum of feedback?

        “When you’re anonymous, you can get better faster.” or the fear of “worrying what other people think” is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks here. Until one can learn to NOT CARE what other people think (particularly in business), they will continue down a path of having to constantly please others. First and foremost, please yourself with your works, the rest will come naturally.

        My wife has dealt with fears most of her life as a sexual abuse survior, yet at the same time also works VERY hard at removing those fears daily. Being somewhat an expert in the process, it was very clear to her how fear-based this method of writing in anonymity truly is. She once wrote a book that was to be shared with the world by Sally Jesse-Rafael, yet felt it was an unfinished work and ended up dissolving the project all-together based on some ill-gotten advice from others.

        She writes consistently now from a place of NEVER hiding behind a pseudonym or other form of cover, so that she can continue to work on becoming her true self by showing the world who she really is. The real question that arises within this topic of discussion is “What are writers hiding from that requires them to consider publishing as an anonymous author?”

        Fear of failure or fear of success?

        Besides, if one does achieve any sort of notoriety after writing with a pen name or otherwise, at some point exposing the truth of authorship becomes another matter entirely, one many a writer have found to be just as detrimental to their ability to produce great works.

        Hope that makes more sense than what my initial sentence may have brought to the table.

        • I think these are all great points, and I agree with them. However, I think you can get too much attention too quickly. Don’t you agree that fame can ruin people, especially if they have a fragile ego? I’m all for practicing in public and using criticism to get better. But clearly, Fitzgerald is not the only one whose early success may have led to his undoing. Regardless, I would never tell people to avoid the spotlight or eschew the opportunity for success. What I would encourage people to do is not get all bitter about why people don’t currently recognize their genius. It may come in time. In the meantime, use this as an opportunity to get better. Regarding the fear thing, I don’t know about you, but my creative work is riddled with all kinds of fear. Maybe your experience is different. If it is, I certainly envy that. Most of the time, I’m just shaking in my boots.

          • Leland Best

            We all have to contend with fears Jeff, show me a “fearless” man and I’ll show you a good liar. Courage is under-rated in my book.
            My wife suffers from severe anxiety (no depression) and battles it daily. Sometime we want to be careful what it is we accept as part of ourselves. In order to eliminate fear, we must face it, address it and put it behind us. My wife wishes so, but unconsciously it’s nearly impossible for her at this time.

            I don’t believe in enforcing fear in ourselves for the sake of comfort. That’s when a fear can take hold and become a part of us that’s very difficult to get rid of.

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  • There’s certainly advantages to being the underdogs – no one’s watching us, judging us for our failures, and keeping tabs on what we do at all times – and it should give us freedom to experiment and create good art, but in many ways we let it hold us back.

  • Robin

    Reading this post has brought several things to mind, but anonymity does more than just allow a person to go by unnoticed if failure or something embarrassing happens. Sometimes, it lets you take a breather before starting in again. Or it can help you see what others see in you, or how they value what you do–an unexpected barometer. It depends on the situation. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Fitzgerald had somehow realized what his work meant to people. How would his story have changed and so on? The same could be said for other authors and artists as well.

    Last year, I missed submitting a presentation proposal by two hours. I had somehow confused the dates and days, as did several other people. I attended the conference and was surprised at first how many people had missed me giving a presentation (I had done so two years in a row)! But after a while, I began handling the situation with a little more humor, as it was funny how the mishap had happened. What a difference it made! Seeing yourself as others see you and finding out you mean something to someone is humbling, yet one of the most significant things that can happen to you. It was a day that I became “real”. This realization has helped me to push forward–developing presentations for future use, doing research for presentation topics and for writing, and so many other things. And I finally found my voice–something I thought had been lost in the shuffle of life and living.

    I guess I appreciate anonymity more than some people, and it may have backfired some in keeping me from moving forward with my writing, photography, and art goals. In a small town, if you mess up in some way, it’s almost as if the whole world knows your name and you can’t get past the mess. You can’t go anywhere without people talking about what you did/didn’t do. But when there’s anonymity, you’ve got some wiggle room to try something different. Personal space is a good thing; it helps me re-energize, pivot, and redirect and refocus my efforts. And it’s always good to have some things in life that nobody knows but you–just some observations.

  • joolino

    i have been really enjoying Jeffs musings.It’s good open stuff, bright and intuitive and for me as a tentative writer fantastically enlightening.
    Thanks Jeff

  • Anthony Newman

    Great stuff, Jeff! Long-time fan, first time commenter here…I have a couple questions, and maybe the community can help me out. First, what about writing under a pseudonym for your career? Or, what about using a pen-name until you find that “thing” that is yours for the long-term? Wouldn’t that help preserve the anonymity you’re striving/wishing for in this article?

    Also, you say “build your craft slowly,” and, “be intentional.” What are those steps? What’s the path? Just start writing and let it lead you organically?

    Thanks for the awesome read!

    • 1. I think a pseudonym works just fine. You’re right in that it would help. To be clear, I don’t think you have to TRY to be anonymous, just enjoy most people not knowing who you are.

      2. Steps to building your craft slowly are: practice often (preferably every day), get input from people who are better than you, and share your work with others so you can get feedback. So if that’s what you mean by “just start writing,” then yes. But I suspect this will provide a little more structure than that.

      • Anthony Newman

        Thank you Jeff…this definitely helps!

        What would you say about the “multiple hats” of a writer? For example, if I take the structured advice you gave me here with the initial vigor I felt after I read it, I would race off and write! But me personally, my instinct is to write in as many different places as I can physically handle. So I would find a place to create fiction work and get feedback, as well as a journal-style blog, and a blog based on a certain niche, and possibly an e-book, and….well, you get the idea.

        Fragmented focus has been a weakness of mine since I started pursuing my own business. I’m scared to focus on one thing, because if it doesn’t work out I’ll be crushed. It’s much easier for me to fragment myself, because then if one thing doesn’t work, I have several others. Furthermore, if I fail at one thing I can blame the simple fact that my attention is fragmented as the main cause of my failure. It’s a method to my madness, and also a crutch.

        It’s holding me back, and I don’t know how to fight it.

        • Ton Bil

          Hey Anthony, having the same first name, I have the same issue as well. Since I started my own business (1988), I had focusing problems + procrastinating big time. Sure I needed to focus to get work done and earn my living. Over the years it became more difficult. A painful breakup, plus social media and all that weren’t helpful. All this played into confidence issues, so it became a vicious circle. I had tried so much, I’d become almost hopeless about me and my focus. Quite recently (at age 53, 54), after working with a lot of different complementary methods, I’m getting my grips on it. The program at my website http://www.lovebybreakup.com will entail that kind of practical wisdom as well. You may want to check, it’s (still) free. – Anthony (or Ton, Dutch short form)

          • Anthony Newman

            Thank you, fellow Ton! I have visited your site and signed up. I am intrigued! Very interesting angle you’re taking, and I can’t wait to read the book. (I have received the email but I am waiting to download it because I’m on my mobile.)

            Thanks again, and I look forward to conversing more with you soon!

        • I’m a big fan of batching. Don’t switch tasks too often. It can kill your momentum.

          • Anthony Newman

            I completely agree! Batching is a powerful “hack” that makes efficiency much less strenuous.

            But I’m more referring to making an impact with my words. I want to write a lot of things. Informational blogs and books, short stories, novels, articles and editorials…the list goes on. I could be setting myself up for failure here, because trying to publish so MANY things could lead to publishing nothing as I try to be everywhere. But still, this is a driving force in my mind.

            Do you (and please, anyone else from the community chime in) have any advice for this? Combat it? Embrace it? Try it all and see what sticks? Pick one and force myself to stick with that? HELP! Haha…:-)

  • Penelope Silvers

    I think we should all heed King Solomon’s advice in Ecclesiastes 3: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. This may be a season of learning and tweaking your craft of writing, and then when you are ready, there will come the time that people will know who you are. Appreciate all the seasons of your life. You will appreciate the steps that it took to get there, and appreciate your success more fully.

  • Interesting perspective. Many authors write genre fiction (especially romance) under the anonymity of a pseudonym because there can be a lot of judgement about writing fiction if it isn’t strictly literary. Thanks for this post.

  • Quietus

    Jeff, thank you for often offering a perspective that is the less-travelled neuronal path. As with everything in life there are at least two ways of interpreting a viewpoint, and most people see it as either one way or the other. I prefer being a ‘grey man’ in this regard, melding in aspects of both arguments. as life is seldom black or white.
    I fully agree that anonymity (what a lovely word to pronounce properly) gives one the opportunity to hone one’s craft without negative public criticism. Most of the negative critics seldom have a decent understanding of the subject at hand, or are driven by ego or the opportunity to draw a sympathetic audience. Negativity harms even the most crocodile-skinned people because we all seek to be recognised and appreciated. Therefore, learn to be discerning and only take from those that truly understand your craft and can contribute positively.
    What I deduce from your excellent perspective, as well as other comments from readers, is that one must go forth with great confidence in one’s abilities and self-worth, but in a quiet, humble way that does require egotistical massaging. In other words, swell the bud slowly and deliberately, then, when you’re ready – or, more likely, when the universe decides you are – astound them with the colours, scents and presence of your blooms.
    Thanks, once again, for your great articles, Jeff.

    • That’s very well said, Quietus. And what a great name you have!

  • Karen

    That’s a great way of looking at things. I self-pubbed my first novel a few months ago with no track record, no following, no platform. This after decades of writing in isolation. I did this deliberately, as I wanted to take an incremental approach and get used to being out there. Of course I’m still at the bottom of the Amazon ranks, but I am acquiring an audience and reviews, and I value each and every one of them, even if they do come one at a time. And I’m learning about being a better author, and of course I’m continuing to write and publish more work. Thanks for the post. Encouraging for us introverts and late bloomers!

  • So True! You can definitely try new stuff when you are anonymous! On the other hand, I think, you have to get over with the judgement and rejection in order for you to grow as a writer!

  • Kandace

    One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and hidden your life in Christ Jesus.” There’s freedom in not needing to be seen to know your valued. There’s a deeper rest in being hidden and content because of who you are not what you do.