Dan, your post makes me think of my years spent dancing where the dance master/teacher was always shouting at me to be thinner, stronger, faster, better... with little praise for who I was at the time. As a writer (and I do call myself that now because I write every day - even without getting paid for it) I always think I've survived that staring-in-the-mirror depression of not being good enough part of my life, that every single thing I write that's mine is completely and utterly filled with the sun. I don't need the affirmation of publication to accomplish self-belief and self-worth as a writer. When publication comes (as it must to those who knock at the blank page every day with something to say to shout from rooftops to whisper in lovers' ears to hum in the shower...) and goes, I'm left standing with pen and paper in hand to face a new horizon where I strive against non-existence again and again. You are only as good as you are now. When I look at the past me and the present me I'm left wondering if there will be enough sun for a future me. Being the writer I am now is all I can be. I have to believe in myself before I expect others to.