Is there a gap between who you are deep inside and the self you present to the world in your day- to-day routine? For most people, there is. We can't help it. So many things around us pull us toward the mundane. We're bombarded with messages about how important it is to make more money, have a better car, live in a bigger house, live the "good" life. It is very easy to get caught on that treadmill, focused on things we "have to" do that make the self we present to the world "better" while doing nothing for that deeper self.
These mundane messages can be even worse for writers--if we let them. The message from society is that writing is not a worthy endeavor unless you can prove you are successful in the mundane world: have you been published? lately? how much $ have you made? do people know who you are? do you have fans? have you pleased the critics?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that those are the wrong measurements. Sure, they'd be nice to achieve, but a better measure of success in writing (and in life, for that matter) is what you have done for your soul. Every time we put words to paper (or pixels), we writers are letting our deep inner self shine through. We are stepping off treadmill of the mundane and refusing to listen to those negative messages that try to keep us running after that surface success.
Everyone who writes puts a little bit of their soul into it. Ironically, those who are most successful at letting their soul shine through in their writing tend to find commercial success as well. I think that's what Betsy was talking about in her earlier post about her "nasty little short story." She wasn't afraid to pour her true self into it, and she ended up getting rewarded on a personal and professional level.