I’ve Gotta Be Me

Remember the old song by Sammy Davis, Jr.?

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won’t give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far-away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less
As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I’ve gotta be me

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me

That song has been playing through my head for the last few days as I’ve suffered a personal crisis of confidence. I’ve beaten myself up for not writing more than a page or two a day when I see friends posting that they’re writing 10,000 words a day. I’ve stressed over my sales after learning a friend who started self-publishing about the same time I did has made a million dollars since she started. I look in the mirror in disgust at how old I look when I see others my age looking fantastic. I know I should go to more conferences, but I also know I won’t, and that bothers me.

I’ve been judging myself by others. And it has to stop.

I’m not them, I’m me. I have a husband and a daughter who are home 24/7, two big puppies who don’t get along and require constant attention to keep them from tearing the house down, two grandchildren who this week require my presence at their house while their mom is away, a mother who is 85 who sometimes comes to visit for weeks at a time.

I’m just not going to be able to put out 8, 10, 12 books a year. Three is going to be my norm, four if I really get motivated. I’m likely going to make enough to keep our bills paid and food on the table, but probably not enough to remodel the house or take a trip to Alaska. 

And I need to learn to be okay with that. Because it’s who I am. I want to put out quality stories, not quantity. I don’t want to write smut, even if that’s what sells. I write about real life situations with a little suspense thrown in, set in small towns and on ranches. That’s what makes me happy, and when you get right down to it, isn’t that what’s important? I’m happy being me. What makes me unhappy is when I try to be someone else.

At the end of the day, I just gotta be me.

That’s what rodeo star Blake Kaufman also discovers in Between Lonesome and Texas.  Looking back, most of this series is about finding yourself, learning to love yourself, and being happy with who you are. Little did I know that writing it would help me on my own personal journey to contentment.

When you're stuck somewhere between Lonesome and Texas, which way do you turn? In one direction lies freedom. In the other, love. Or is there a way to have both?

When you’re stuck somewhere between Lonesome and Texas, which way do you turn? In one direction lies freedom. In the other, love. Or is there a way to have both?

About Tori Scott

Author, former Golden Heart finalist, published by Red Sage, in Woman's World, and selected news media. I live near Dallas Texas and write sexy romantic comedy, contemporary small-town romance, and romantic suspense.
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19 Responses to I’ve Gotta Be Me

  1. Darline says:

    Amen Tori! You have no reason to be hard on yourself. Your fans love your work.


  2. leighmorgan1 says:

    Tori, I agree with you on comparisons…they aren’t as helpful as they are hurtful. Have you ever noticed that we usually only compare up and find ourselves wanting instead of saying, “Today has been hard…AND I managed to write anyway.” Three books a year is something to be proud of. How many people want to write and never finish a first book much less a second, third or three a year? There are many (if not most) of us who wished our word count approximated 10,000 words a day. My count is not close to that on a day to day basis. Darline has a great point…YOU’VE GOT FANS!!! That is worth celebrating. 🙂


  3. Reblogged this on Author Catherine Chant and commented:
    This post by Tori Scott over at Authors of Main Street is so inspirational I had to share it with you, my readers. An alternative title might be “I Did It My Way” (recalling one of Sammy Davis Jr.’s famous pals, Frank Sinatra.)

    For a long time I, too, measured my productivity against that of other writers I looked up to. Inevitably, this left me feeling slow, lazy and not very successful at all. On my worst days, I’d wonder if I had the chops to be a writer in the first place.

    A disagreement with one of these writers shook me up enough to open my eyes to what I was doing, how I was basing my choices and decisions on what those other writers would do my place, or what they would think of me, which is no way to lead your life, let alone a career. I wasn’t them and they weren’t me.

    I needed to be me. And I had to do things My Way.

    So, I took back control of my destiny, decided like Tori Scott that I had to be true to myself. And it was the best decision I could have made.

    So, look to your fellow writers for inspiration, encouragement, and support, but don’t compare yourself, because in the end you have to remain true to yourself.

    You’re special because of what’s inside you, and that’s not going to be like anyone else. Embrace that. The truth in your writing will shine through when you do.


  4. Such an inspirational post! Really hits home for me. I’ve struggled with the comparison thing for a long time and it made me feel “less than” for too many years. I’m going to share a link to your post over on my blog and help spread the word. 🙂


  5. Sometimes I feel like writing is the same as being in high school, you see the popular girls and a part of you wants to be with them, but at the same time you don’t want to be like all the rest – it can be a tough battle. I was always the smart kid and you get used to not being noticed for anything else – until one day you are voted most likely to succeed and you realize people have noticed you all along ! People notice you and love you and respect your writing whether it’s 3-4 books or more! xo


    • Tori Scott says:

      Kelly, that’s exactly how it feels most days. Like being in high school, standing on the outside looking in, wishing you could be one of the popular kids. After I grew up, I learned a lot of those popular kids had problems I’d never imagined. While I wanted their success, I wouldn’t have wanted their lives.


  6. susanrhughes says:

    You have touched on something that many of us struggle with. Do you realize I’ve been looking up to you, wishing I could do as well as you have? You’re doing great.


  7. E. Ayers says:

    Tori. you and I are traveling that same path, sometimes hand in hand. Yet, when you look around and see friends making that kind of money, it stabs at something deep inside. I couldn’t type that many words a day if I tried. My brain doesn’t kick them out that fast. I just keep telling myself that quality still counts at least in my book. I want to be proud of what I’ve written.

    You are doing the same thing. There are factors beyond our control. Be yourself. Keep creating heroes who are sexy and wonderful, and women who are worth them. You don’t write formulas. You create characters who are worth reading and each one is different and each story is different.

    Don’t look in the mirror. Once we passed twenty-five, it’s not our friend!


  8. Joan Reeves says:

    Tori, we all make the mistake of comparing ourselves to others–usually when we’re already feeling down and beating ourselves up. It’s just another way to beat yourself over the head so you’ll feel even worse, and we all know how masochistic writers can be. *g*

    Here’s my wisdom for the day from The Desiderata that hangs on my office wall: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself… Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time… You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”


  9. Pingback: You gotta be you, I gotta be me | Write on the World

  10. monarisk says:

    What a fantastic post, Tori. A real inspiration. Actually it was my resolution this New Year; to do what I want and what I can, and be happy with it.


  11. Carol says:

    Tori, don’t beat yourself up. I understand your feelings. Know that you are enough. Enough. Your books are great!


  12. stephaniequeen says:

    You’ve found your personal theme, Tori!!! Congratulations!!! That is WONDERFUL AND PRICELESS! Run with it – sink into it and relish YOU being YOU!
    (and don’t be surprised if you end up making millions anyway!)


  13. What a thought provoking post. I think that everyone goes through this. I read this many years ago and managed to find it on Google. (Gotta love the internet.)


    I’m copying it out and putting it on the wall next to my computer. We all need reminders.

    Remember, “Even cowgirls get the blues.”


  14. Great post! You must always be “You” and be happy with whatever you achieve. As long as you are trying to measure up to other people/writers, you will never be happy. Plus, just think of all the other people who would love to be you!


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