I usually feel like the least important person in whichever room I happen to be in.
While I am out pushing myself to create work that I feel strongly about, I often find myself apologising for the fact that it isn’t 50 times better than it is.
I love my novel and believe the one I’m writing now is even better, but if you asked me about it, I’d downplay it. Even if I didn’t want to. Even if I wanted to tell you how I feel about it all the way deep down inside, I’d probably say: “Oh, it’s just a silly thing I’m working on.”
I love this blog, but I rarely see one I don’t prefer to mine because it looks better, it’s got better graphics, it’s more focused, it’s funnier … whatever.
I don’t make these declarations to engender sympathy. Those who know me, know that to be a fact. I don’t think it’s a matter of low self-esteem that makes me feel the way I do.
I think, on the contrary, that I may have precisely the right amount of confidence a guy like me should have. It didn’t stop me publishing the book. It isn’t stopping me from writing this blog post. And it won’t stop me from walking into rooms full of people tomorrow morning and joining the conversation.
But I’m grateful that I’m not cursed with an over-abundance of confidence. It has a levelling effect. It requires me to see the other point of view and to admire the quality of other peoples’ work without sneering. And it requires me to place my own under a constant spotlight with an eye for urgent improvement.
And though it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that I have anything to teach in light of all that I’ve written here, I wonder if maybe the best gift of all is to be fundamentally at peace knowing you’re not the greatest hero the human race has ever known.