Have you ever heard anyone say something like: If I can write four books a year with eleven children, pregnant and while working 60 hours a week – you can too!
That’s an extreme example, but I’m sure you know what I mean. I get where people are coming from when they share these stories, and I think they are important stories to share. Personally I love hearing how other people manage their writing and juggle the rest of their lives. And this applies to other things, not just writing – losing weight, saving money, studying for a new career – anything!
But what I have an issue with is the you can too.
It changes the whole dynamic of the story – rather than sharing an experience, it becomes – to me, anyway – a judgment. Almost as if the person is coming from a position of superiority, and as if the other person is being chastised for not having “done it too”.
I know/hope this is not the intention, but to me statements like this add unnecessary pressure to aspiring authors, piling on even more self doubt when us creative souls already have bucket loads of it.
I suspect I was guilty of such statements early in my career – the intent would’ve been encouragement, and I sincerely hope that the result was not unnecessary guilt and pressure.
And so – here is my new version:
If I can do it, you can too!*
*Assuming you are me. Otherwise, it’s likely your situation is very different to mine: you probably have different responsibilities, different abilities to cope with stress, different financial, employment, situational and family pressures and a myriad of other things that I don’t know about that make your life unique to you.
Consequently, just because I did it, may or may not mean you can do it too. My story and life experience is mine, just as yours is yours.
My experience may inspire you, or it may not. That’s okay.
Let’s try again: Here’s my story. Now please tell me yours.