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Competition, Humility, Reality

I met a new person yesterday. She asked me what I did for a living, and swear to god, she got really excited by my answer.

No, I didn’t lie and say that I’m a New York Times bestselling author. I said that I am a marketing writer for web & print and that I ghostwrite blogs. I can only imagine that the mystique of blogging, writing and ghostwriting got the best of her.

And you know what? It was really nice to hear that she thought what I did, and therefore I – myself, was exciting. Because this world of copywriters and social media experts is really odd, or rather, it presents an odd and dichotomous phenomenon.

Side 1. When I’m in the middle of it, say on Twitter, surrounded by a bevy of heavy hitters in the world of writing and social media, I can start to feel pretty small. And, not in a pity party kind of way. I’m proud of the business that I’ve built and how hard I work, but, on Twitter especially, it’s like a live newsfeed of people getting huge jobs and speaking at national conferences and launching new ventures with Fortune 500 companies and…so many other outstanding feats.

It can be humbling. There are random thoughts of who do I think I am?, I can’t compete, and even worse, trying to be something that I’m not in order to somehow compete with the big kids.

Side 2. When I’m not on my computer, this life and work look dramatically different. As evidenced by the story I launched this post with, I’m regularly seen as someone who does something really cool and who possesses knowledge about a world that few know about. To some degree, I’m extraordinary; occassionally, I’m envied.

The reality is that it’s all true. I am a small fish in a big sea…and what I do is fairly cutting edge and cool. It’s really just a matter of perspective.

But, what’s really important is what happens in my office and on this computer every day. No matter what anyone else is doing or thinking. I write, I learn, I consult, I produce, I collaborate, I network, I publish, I follow opportunities, I multitask, I procrastinate, I fail, I suceed, I do good work for myself, for my clients and for my community – both on and offline.

And? I like it.

I’d love to have you join this conversation with a comment. I talk back 99% of the time with a follow-up comment or an email…

Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Tamara says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring post. I was excited for you just reading it! I think it is a pretty phenomenal time that we are living in with all that the internet has to offer.

  • Ron Miller says:

    Hi Julie:
    Great post. I’m with you, floating along in the big pond, but what’s great about Twitter is that you can actually interact with someone like Chris Brogan who has a gazillion followers (well, 20,000 anyway) and he is so gracious he communicates back.

    You can meet and talk to people from all over the world. I’m following and being followed by people in France, Germany, Mexico, Sydney. How would that be possible without a communications tool like Twitter.

    I follow someone who was at a conference this week and I learned about the conference content in real time. How cool is that?

    You are great at what you do within your own sphere of influence and you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the bigger fish. You’re doing just fine swimming along with the likes of me, another little fish, doing his thing, making a living and having a good time.


  • Julie Roads says:

    Tamara. From the bottom of my heart, I am so thankful that you pulled ‘inspiring’ out of that post and not ‘get your sad little butt out of the gutter’…I love blogs – this is realtime communication!!! Now I’m inspired!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Ron, Ron, Ron. And, I was thinking you were one of the big fish! Twitter is amazing – but I needed to write this post and see how I’m responding to it…and get this reality check. These two worlds can really mess with your head!!!! YOU ROCK.

  • alchemy says:

    Competition? I was hoping for confidence!

  • Wow! What a great post/article. I like your thoughts very much. Hit the nail on the head as it were/is. So close to home on so many levels. Keep on keeping on dear lady. I am a fan for life. Want to be like you when I grow up. Teehee and kidding on the square.(If you know what that means than I have definitely dated you and me both. Hugs

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hi Alchemy – yes, that ‘confidence’ was a Freudian slip. But the confidence is here…isn’t it?

  • Jacqueline says:

    Your last lines are perfect – we who work for ourselves in our home offices – we do all those things. Personally, I think we should have a day when we wear crowns and people bow to us (even virtually) because we really are cool!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Jacqueline…yes a crown! I want a royal purple robe too…Is there a national freelancer appreciation day? There should be!

  • Jacqueline says:

    OMG! You know we could TOTALLY have that as a holiday – we could register it, have rituals that we do – email me – Let’s do this! ;)

  • Julie Roads says:

    I’m all over that…we’ll have to do it in a month where things really drag…like March – though I’m very impatient and want things done NOW.

  • I am all for National Freelancer Appreciation day- count me in! Great post BTW!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Melissa! We are so having NFA Day – I think you just named it! Will keep you posted!

  • Sandra Foyt says:

    Seems like self-doubt is a big part of any writer’s persona, but I’m impressed that you’re getting recognition for blogging.

    More importantly, however, I agree with you that the recognition is not what motivates us to write, to blog, to influence. I’m certainly grateful for this privilege.

  • Great post! The last thing you said about the reality of it all was really good. I always leave your blog feeling encouraged. Keep up the good work!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hi Brandice – I’m so glad you leave feeling encouraged – I couldn’t ask for a higher compliment!!!

  • Anne Mayhew says:

    Isn’t it the whole point in social media? Big or small we can all interact and learn from each other? Thanks for sharing, your talents shine through!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Well said, Anne – YES!!!

  • Hi Julie,

    Great post, I picked it as an Editor’s Pick on Kirtsy.


  • Gwen Bell says:

    Thanks to Angela at Mommy Bytes alerting me through Kirtsy, I’m here. And I love the post. It’s a poignant reminder of being thankful for the gifts we have.

    It’s funny that there is no perfect answer to this question…I’ve met internet celebrities at conferences and parties. I get the vibe from talking with them that they’d prefer the anonymity…because it’s the _writing_ and _creating_ they love, not the superstardom.

    Two sides of the same coin. Happiness is definitely about loving what is, as you demonstrate in your post.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Angela – thank you! How cool is that!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hi Gwen…and welcome. i LOVE your blog. and the fact that every coin has two sides keeps me in constant, constant motion.

  • Barbara says:

    Wow. What a great post. Will go check it out on Kirtsy.

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