Positive Writer

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How Frustration Can Lead to Breakthrough and Picking Yourself

Most of us are waiting to be picked.

We are waiting for an agent or publisher to call, or we are waiting to be picked to take the next step up the ladder, or we are just waiting for someone to give us that pat on the back and let us know what we are doing is worthwhile and, well, you know, to “keep-at-it.”


Pick me.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with waiting to be picked, it’s just that it’s unpredictable and you might end up spinning your wheels and waiting a long time for… nothing.

In today’s world where the economy is changing so fast and self-publishing is becoming the norm and not the exception, you might genuinely be waiting for something that is near extinction.

Maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with waiting to be picked ten or twenty years ago, but today if you’re still waiting it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

This doesn’t mean you can’t still be picked, but if you are picked it might mean your chances for making an impact and reaching as many readers as possible will be more limited than going it on your own.

The world is changing and waiting for someone else to tag you, to give you the old “atta boy”, “keep-at-it” is becoming an absurd strategy.

The problem is that we’ve been taught from birth that someone else grades us, someone else chooses us, and those who choose themselves take on incredible risk.

If you choose yourself you have no one to measure you’re progress, no security in case you fail, and, if you do fail, people will tell you “I told you so.”

Scary, isn’t it? It’s meant to be.

We have been trained to get in line and work, wait, work, wait, work, wait and work some more.

You do this until you’re either so frustrated waiting to be picked that you take it upon yourself to do something about it, or you give up entirely.

Or, worst of all, you decide, perhaps not consciously, to just go through the motions day after day with no aspirations and no expectations.

Then again, maybe you’ll be one of the few, one of the chosen ones. (Can you hear the crowd roaring applause?)

Woo Hoo!

But even if you are one of the chosen you probably won’t be creating the art you always wanted to create and you’ll still be tied to someone else’s plan, and as Jim Rohn points out in one of his most famous quotes:

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you?

Not much.

―Jim Rohn

Unfortunately, too many of us wait for frustration to build and build before we do something about it and by the time it gets to that point years will have passed, but even then all is not lost and you can still tag yourself.

I waited a long time to be picked.

I created work that got noticed and I was certain it mattered. I returned day after day creating even more and all of it got noticed and all of it was praised.

It was wonderful and I loved doing it, but there was a problem that persisted.

Each time I created something there was the insinuation of what was to come for me and then finally the opportunity I was working for and waiting for, came.

But I wasn’t picked.

And you know what? That’s just the way it is.

No harm and no foul, it’s the way the game is, and either you’re picked or someone else is, you just have to get back up, brush yourself off, and return to the drawing board… right?

Yes, that’s right. Until it’s not.

It’s time to pick yourself because you can. (Tweet This)

Here’s the thing, if I had been picked you would not be reading this post.

I would never have written any of my books and would never have started any of my websites and blogs.

When I picked myself the waiting stopped and I started creating what matters to me, and apparently to a lot of other people, too.

Today my books earn far more than any added bonus being picked could have ever brought in.

Now I choose to create what I want on my own time, on my own terms, my way, and no one has any say about it, unless I allow them to.

It’s quite liberating. Don’t you think?

But this didn’t happen because someone tagged me and said I was finally, finally, oh thank goodness, it.

No, it was because someone didn’t pick me and I became so frustrated that I did something positive about it.

So. Can. You.

It wasn’t easy and several things I tried didn’t work.

Some things failed so badly they left a mark, but I learned as I went by seeking out lessons and advice when I needed them (usually after crashing and burning).

Don’t fear the mistakes and failures you will make, because you need them and you’ll be better because of them.

Here’s the reality check for today’s times:

You don’t have to wait for anyone to pick you. Pick yourself! (Tweet This)

Take that old manuscript in your drawer, dust it off, and publish it yourself on Amazon or your own site.

If you’ve been waiting to write it, well, now’s the time to stop waiting, and the fact is, there’s never been a better time.

Picking yourself is not limited to publishing books, because with the internet you’re creations, whatever they are, can reach more people than at any other time in history and without anyone giving you the go ahead.

There are no more gatekeepers.

It’s just you and the world. And that’s pretty awesome.

Are you ready to be it? Share in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I’m a positive writer and when that doesn’t work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins



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  • Deevra Norling

    This resonates well with me. All the years of working for a boss meant waiting to be picked. It starts with waiting to be picked for an interview, waiting to be picked for the job, then waiting to see if you pass the probation period, then waiting to hear how well you did in the performance appraisal, then waiting to be picked for a promotion. And so the cycle continues….! And we’re brainwashed into believing that this is the best way to live… NOT!

    • Hi Deevra, I totally get you. Although, I am not really writing about a day job, you do bring up a good point. We all have to eat, so having a job and working our jobs the best we can are important, whether we are picked for something in that job or not, but the key for our creative side is to make our own time and pick ourselves to create what is in our hearts to create, and we don’t need anyone’s permission to do that and who knows, maybe what we create in our spare time leads to being our full time job. 🙂

  • LOVED this post, Bryan. I’m so glad you picked yourself. It encourages so many. And I loved the tie in with being “it.”

    Another benefit to choosing yourself is we don’t have to work through the pride of being chosen. After all, who else would I pick, but me? 🙂

    I appreciate your writing, Bryan.

    • Excellent point, Anne, who else would I pick, but me. lol and so true.
      Tag, you’re it! 🙂

      • Bryan,

        Too bad. You didn’t know I was sitting on a chair and my feet weren’t touching the ground. I was on glue. 🙂

        • lol now I know what game you are talking about, but we called it “Safe”. In other words when touching a tree or another object we were “Safe” and could not be tagged. Gosh, I really miss those days. 🙂 Don’t you?

          • How about the game with a ball called, SPUD? Yes, sometimes I miss those days. But I get to relive some of them.

  • Tammy Schaefer

    Thank you Bryan for picking yourself! There’s a saying, “When we step out and live our dream, we give others permission to do the same.” Thanks for being a permission giver!

  • Bryan,
    You, and a few other TW’s, encouraged me awhile ago to pick myself. I think you still do need someone that believes in you, other than yourself. The Life Plan, I’ve read and heard that somewhere before….a buzz word now.
    Thank you for the reminder..

    • Totally agree, Patricia. Support is always a good thing, but the key is to pick your supporters, too. Just as you have done.

      So where in the world are you now? You always seem to be at a new port. 🙂

      • Are you saying I really did something right. Thanks a million. 😉
        We are in Sardinia, sailing down the east coast, south to Cagliari. Another 100nm or so. We finished our circumnavigation of Corsica, a fabulous island by the way. Now’s it’s the turn of Sardinia. Have not seen much yet. Very new north, we like old places, friends told us the the south is spectacular. We’ll see. We do so slowly, light breezes, anchor for lunch off a beach, sail further if we want to, or stay the night…that’s how we travel. Swim in beautiful clear warm water. Very hot but bearable.
        Sardinia is more rocky and less green but pretty interesting.
        Thanks for asking,

  • Bryan, this was awesome! I totally agree with ya! You have to pick yourself before anyone picks you. Keep it up! 😉

  • Annmarie Miles

    I’m so excited by this post Bryan, because just this week I had a conversation with a company that provides services to people who want to self and e publish and I’ve decided.. what the heck – so what if I’ve only been writing fiction for a year – people seem to love it. So before the end of the year, I’m self publishing an anthology of my short stories!
    Bryan, I think I just went and picked myself! 😀

  • Bryan, thank you for the reminder.

  • Ann Marie Thomas

    Great post! Just remember when you pick yourself – you deserve the very best, so don’t short-change yourself on the quality of what you publish.

    • That’s so important, Ann Marie. Even when picking one’s self it is still important to give your work the best care and attention it deserves.

  • Well written, Bryan! It’s so true that we crave those “grades”, that validation from someone else. It’s written into our DNA.

    And we can still get the grades through our audience. The fact that so many read your work and respond to it looks like an A+ to me!

    • Well, thank you, Noah! You’re right, our audience will let us know how we are doing and where we need to improve and modify. Great point!

  • Jewels

    Tired of hearing that I couldn’t call myself a writer without an audience I took to the web and started a blog. The blog turned into guest posting, contributing to online magazines and now I’m the COO, co-owner, and Senior Editor of one. 😀 You never know what will happen when you own who you are, your passion, and overcome the doubts in your own head! Great article and fantastic reminder that we’re all capable of conquering the obstacles in our way.

  • I have recently taken on this mindset, thankfully, and have removed a lot of things that I typically turn to. I had a blog, let it run out because I didn’t enjoy what it created. I am aiming to get back into that. A lot of the battle is determining where to (re)start, especially with all the niche talk and such. Not relying on excuses, merely determining how to put a better foot forward based on my previous stepping stone blog. Thanks Bryan.