Raise your hand if you do this: Feel lousy about the one thing you can’t do well and forget a-l-l-l-l-l-l about the tons of things you do really, really well.
Why do we do that? It doesn’t have to be about our writing, but since we’re all about the writing here, we’ll go with that idea. Just for an example.
So for example, why do we get a critique and immediately zero in on the mistakes rather than the parts of the manuscript where we excel? Why do we beat ourselves up over the writing skill that may be lacking, and completely overlook a-l-l-l-l-l the writing skills we’ve worked hard to accomplish?
Sure, we need to make our corrections. But first, how about we give our writing selves a break? How about we look at that manuscript, or article, or short story, and say, “Wow! I really nailed the _____(fill in the blank with your writing talent__.”
Doesn’t that sound like something fun for this Friday? (Raise your hand if you agree.)
We really are our worst critic, but you are correct. Rejoice in what you do well.
A long time ago I had a file in which I kept compliments on my writing. I opened it very rarely, but it was nice to have it there. When I’d get a hard crit, I’d remember that someone at one time had thought something I had written was good in some way. It wasn’t all crap all the time.
I don’t have that file any more. I wonder if I should start another one. Because it’s true that the negatives play at a much higher volume in our heads.
I love that idea, Sally–and I love that imagery. I can feel my ears turning into speakers and my nose, a volume knob. And now I’m reaching up, just to turn it down a notch or two. 😉
I’m raising both hands! My problem is noticing how well others write and feeling I will never get there. You can’t help but recognize great writing when you see it and sometimes it’s hard to remember how hard that person must’ve worked to get to where they are. Okay, I realize this wasn’t the point of your post, so now I’m trying to figure out what it is I do well… 🙂 It’ll come to me!
I can think of lots of things you do well, Deb (writng and otherwise). But I want you to have the pleasure of figuring it our for yourself!
I raise my hand and glad not to be alone in the way I feel!
Oh, I think there are a ton of us, Lynn-;-)
It drives my husband crazy whenever I complain about not having accomplished this or that – he’s always the first one to point out all the good stuff I’ve got published. I actually do have a binder that has clips of my published work but I rarely ever look at it. I wonder why? Why is it so easy to believe the “bad stuff” than to recognize and celebrate the good? Why is it so easy to do it for others but not for ourselves? (Ack, my brain hurts. I need more coffee…) 🙂
Which brings me to another point, Madeline–do you think women are more prone to bash themselves? I honestly can’t remember the Beneficent Mr. Hall worrying about stuff like that…then again, he’s not a writer.
Oh, great. Now MY brain hurts. 🙂
Oh, good question, Cathy! I’m sure it depends on the person but I know my husband worries less about things in general. It could be a confidence issue, where men just tend to be more confident overall?
Sorry I hurt your brain. 🙂
Both hands raised over here, too! I love Sally’s idea. I have a rejection file, but never thought to start a “happy happy joy joy” file. Duh…such a simple nice thing to do for yourself. I wonder how much more productive we would be as writers if we started each day with a Stuart Smalley-esque speech in front of the mirror…”I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like me.” It may be worth researching… ;D
I love that speech, Kara! Actually, after a sufficient amount of time, pondering my writing deficits, I generally give myself a pep talk. Not quite as rousing as that, but enough to get me back to the laptop.
Maybe I’ll use that bit in my next pep talk. Might get me back to the laptop sooner. 😉
Why DO we do that? I wish I didn’t do that, because when I do it sets me back ten paces. I end up thinking all the “why bother?” stuff and end up sitting at the kitchen table with a crossword puzzle instead of typing away on my laptop. What you say is true, Master Y. Putting it into practice isn’t always easy, though. *sigh*
True, Lisa. And as much as I love a good crossword, I do so hope you’ll step away–and back to your laptop!