It took me years to take the phrase, "it's just..." out of my vocabulary. I recently wrote it in my upcoming short story, The Last Birthday, and wrestled with taking it out on principle. "It's just..." was my go to line whenever anyone asked about my writing. "It's just a romance novel; it's just a short story collection." "It's just all my hopes and dreams!" I wanted to scream.
Writing is hard and letting others read what has come from your soul can be daunting. Doubt has a tendency to creep in whenever I look at a first draft, or even the final. My anxiety flares and a repetitive track starts looping in my brain. "Is this good enough? Will people like it? Will anyone buy it? What if everyone hates it?
This train of thought is far from helpful but I've been able to mitigate it lately by reexamining my definition of failure. Before I started to submit my work, my husband asked why I was hesitating. I repeated several of the above remarks and he smiled gave me a hug and then said, "the answer's always no, if you don't try."
What powerful words! The truth is, there will always be someone (or many someones) who don't like your work. That's life, but it doesn't have to diminish the thing you love. It's not "just," if it's your dream.
Own your passion. Shout it from the hills. My personal shout is, "I write romance novels." I love what I do and that alone is worth dropping the "just." Whatever makes you smile, tell people. Some will look at you strangely, but you might find a best friend that wants to dissect every scene of Outlander with you (not based on a true story). The point is, we need to celebrate our passions - it makes us happier, and that makes the world a little brighter.