by Alanna Rusnak
Humility is one of the most beautiful graces. It’s also one of the hardest to authentically achieve and even now, in this very moment, I can’t think of one good example of a truly humble person.
I’m proud. I’ve got pride pouring out the top of my head like a geyser. It’s not ugly pride – it’s not the in-your-face-look-at-me pride that makes someone unlikable. It’s more the I-know-who-I-am-and-I’m-not-going-to-apologize-for-it kind of pride.
I think that’s okay.
I also think it makes me true to my truest self.
And that’s more than okay.
It’s taken a lot of work to get to a place where I really feel comfortable in my own skin, publicly using the gifts I’ve been given. It’s hard – especially as an introvert – to push myself onto a self-built platform, cup my hands around my mouth and holler for the world: I’VE GOT SOMETHING YOU NEED!
Because I don’t. Not really. I have something. Whether anybody needs it is up for debate BUT what really matters is that I’m at a place where I’m comfortable putting it out there – I’m okay with taking the risk no matter the fear I may harbour just beneath the surface.
It all comes down to this: if you really want it, you have to chase it, and chasing means putting yourself out there. No one has ever achieved a dream by locking themselves away. Everything needs sunlight to grow. There comes a point when you have to be willing to expose yourself if you want to see growth of any measure.
Is it hard?
Heck yeah, it is! For me, nothing was more unnatural than touting my own wares – at least at first.
Anything can be learned – even the ability to share yourself with the world.
It’s been a long, lonely, painful ascent – crawling out of my safe little cocoon was terrifying and though opening my newly formed wings was invigorating it was also – at times – debilitating. Fear will rule if you let it. So don’t. Just don’t.
Face your fear. Look it in the eye. And if it doesn’t back down…punch it in the throat!
It was an extensive journey for me to understand just how important it is to embrace self-promotion. It took conferences, workshops, marketing research, and fearless conversations with successfully published authors before I began to grasp that this is the only way to be heard – that the normal person isn’t just picked up by a publisher or agent – that there is tremendous leg work involved. Gold doesn’t just drop into your lap. Sometimes you have to mine the depths to find it…or to be found.
How Did I Do It?
- I started a blog. Blogging is loud and self-indulgent but it was the perfect vehicle for me to test the waters of writing publicly. When I began, I kept it searchable but didn’t actively share anything until I’d found my voice within that space.
- I began to share my blog entries over Facebook, sharing most posts to my personal page, slowly building a small but faithful readership.
- I set up a Facebook fan page for my blog, sharing every article to a more dedicated audience.
- I found a community through social media. It’s amazing, the encouragement you can draw from a group of people on the very same journey as yourself. Twitter and Instagram have been a major player in helping me learn how to share my work in a public forum.
- I invested in my personal branding. I purchased my own .com and I designed and bought business cards for the sole purpose of promoting myself as a writer.
- I started a monthly newsletter about my writing pursuits, victories and failures, hopes and dreams. It’s been a great exercise in keeping myself accountable to the followers who really believe in me.
- I reset my Facebook fan page to be an author page and not a blog page – putting the focus on me and all my projects instead of only what I’d been sharing on my blog.
- Most importantly, I now call myself a writer and will happily discuss my projects with anyone who approaches me with genuine interest.
This is obviously an ongoing process. I’m more than five years deep since Step 1 and I know I have a lot more to learn but, if nothing else, I’m proud to be publicly proud. Humility is overrated anyway, isn’t it?
Self-promotion isn’t something to be afraid of. Yes, it can be daunting but if it brings you closer to your goal then it’s worth every single shiver.
Alanna Rusnak is an author, blogger, and a seeker of the extraordinary. Living with her husband, three children, and an overweight cat (who’s kind of an idiot), on a small patch of untameable land in Southwestern Ontario. Learn more about her at alannarusnak.com, connect through twitter (@alannarusnak), Facebook (alannarusnakauthor) or Instagram (@alannarusnak) and consider submitting something to her recently launched CanLit magazine, Blank Spaces (blankspaces.alannarusnak.com), where she’s eager for great Canadian creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction and art.