“Don’t say that!” she said.
“Oh, I don’t mean I’m a lousy writer,” I told her. “I just mean that I always thought I would write literary high fantasy. But it turns out I’m better at funny, realistic fiction.” I don’t know why this was surprising to me. My friends all tell me that I’m funny. They make me tell the same stories over and over again. My series, Accidentally Fabulous, came into being because an editor friend suggested I write about “all those funny stories you tell about high school.”
Funny stories? Did she mean the tragically sad stories about what a hopeless nerd I was? Yes! And she was willing to pay money for them.
The funny thing is, those stories come naturally to me. But I still find myself wishing I were more “literary” sometimes. I think many people tend to devalue things that they are good at. Take Michael Jordan, for example. He’s one of the greatest basketball players of all time. In the early 1990’s, everyone in the world wanted to play basketball like Michael Jordan. Everyone—that is—except for Michael Jordan, who abruptly left basketball to pursue a career in baseball. Did you even know that? Are you old enough to remember it?
He wasn’t bad. Good enough to play in the minor leagues, which is a pretty decent accomplishment on its own. But he was Michael Jordan. In the end, I guess he decided to honor his gift.
It isn’t always easy to know what our gifts are. But I think that if the universe seems to reward your effort in a certain area, it’s important to honor your own accomplishments, and not write them off or spend your time trying to be something that you’re not. Of course, I also think that MJ was incredibly brave for trying something different when he didn’t have to. I’m sure he doesn’t regret his time in baseball.
But I’m sure he doesn’t regret going back to basketball, either.
Honor your gift.