my obligation to myself …

The only obligation any artist can have is to himself. His work means nothing, otherwise. It has no meaning.

Truman Capote

I needed to hear this right now. I’ve been preoccupied with doubting the merit of what I’m writing in the last few days, and getting horribly down in the dumps about it. Why? Because I’ve been comparing myself to other writers – their literary achievements, the recognition they receive – and I feel so very puny in comparison. Sometimes tunnel vision is a desirable thing. Sometimes we writers must simply focus on our own work, on our obligation to ourselves and let the wider (literary) world go hang.

To that noble end, I conclude with a second byte of inspiration, a quote that so deliciously overflows with ego that I need to make it my mantra:

I’ve always had complete confidence in myself. When I was nothing, I had complete confidence. There were ten guys in my writing class … who could write better than I. They didn’t have what I have, which is guts. I was dedicated to writing, and nothing could stop me.

John Toland

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