The reason publishers are signing authors who have built their own platforms is the same reason YouTube sensations are appearing in car commercials. They aren’t waiting to be picked.
Every day, writers are choosing to in spite of the rumor that it’s too late to succeed. They’re deciding that now is always the best time to begin pursuing their calling. And this is what makes them so attractive.
Sure, there have been trailblazers and trendsetters who’ve come before. Many writers and bloggers have already staked their claim and found success. But if we know anything about history, it’s that it repeats itself.
Audiences are always ready for one more voice. One more leader. We’re always ready to hear from someone who is “crazy enough to change the world.” And the next leader could be you — if you would just stop waiting.
Audiences are always ready for one more voice.
We all want to be picked
Of course, this is natural: the desire to be chosen, to fit in with society’s standards, to be liked by the cool kids. It’s also a myth.
For every person or group that picks you, there is one that doesn’t — or even a hundred of them. You can spend your whole life trying to please them all, and never take any action whatsoever toward your dream.
Or you can focus your attention on what matters, like finding your tribe.
You must pick yourself
The real trick is not to wait, but to pick yourself, to “turn pro” in your head (as Steven Pressfield says). To believe you can achieve the same things that today’s biggest writers and bloggers have already achieved. To believe that it’s never too late to start.
This is how you become “legit” in the eyes of others, by the way — not by waiting for acknowledgment, or by waiting for the safest time to act, but by deciding against all odds that the time is now.
Our heroes do this
This is what we love about the most successful authors. They don’t care about the system. They don’t care about whether someone else got started in the so-called golden age of blogging and has an unfair advantage. They don’t care if a fellow writer has already built a big platform or written a bestselling book. They care about creating art or helping people or finding their tribe. They care about now, not then.
Of course, we also know they’re not exactly fearless in their quests. We’ve read enough biographies and seen enough interviews to know that our heroes are just as human and insecure as we are. Even if they did get started in the so-called golden age of blogging, they still fear having missed the golden age of literature, or the Renaissance, or the Romantic period. They still wonder if now is the right time — and then they act, anyway. They do something different with their fear. They don’t let it debilitate them. They choose to create and share their work, anyway.
They work through the fear instead of waiting to feel unafraid before creating their best work. And if they can, maybe you can, too.
Maybe we all can.
What is it you’re waiting to be picked for?
Note: Hat tip to Seth Godin for giving me the language to articulate this idea.