I was so excited when a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to assist her with her book project, on a paid basis. I was honoured that she’d choose to include me in her book-writing journey. I so believe in her and what she has to offer the world, and since she works in the not for profit sector, I offered to work on the project pro bono, and refused to quote her an hourly rate. She thanked me, and said maybe we’d see about that.
I’ve worked on plenty of paid projects before, some on a self-employed basis, some in-house or as part of a salaried job. I know that I’m experienced and good at what I do. But there’s always this part of me that doubts myself and what I have to offer. Sometimes, such as in situations like this one, I wonder whether it’s truly because of my generosity, and my passion to help another in their writing journey, or if it is because of self-doubt. I find myself wondering, What if they don’t like what I do? What if I missed something? What if I’m not professional enough in my approach? What if I’m too professional? What if I come across as critical? Who am I, to do this? What do I really have to offer? The questions and negative thoughts can often seem endless.
Maybe what I present as being generous and sacrificial really speaks of my vulnerability as a writer/editor. Maybe I hide behind a mask of good deeds and worthy causes, because I fear that if I place a value on my work and my service, someone might turn around and say, “You’re not worth it.”
I believe that generosity with my time and my gifting is part of my mandate, and I hope that however advanced I am in my career, I will always dedicate a portion of my time to investing into others. But I also know that I need to keep my thoughts, motivations and confidence in check. Writing can be a lonely and vulnerable journey, and if I look to others to appraise my worth, my work will reflect that.
Be confident in who you are, and what you have to offer the world. Know your value, and know that whether you decide to give your work away or put a price on it,who you are and what you give is priceless.