Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
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Novels and Self-Esteem

I'm writing today to observe my recent (and very delayed) revelation that there is such a thing as writers-esteem. Or the self-esteem of writers regarding their work, ideas, and way of putting words together.

I will start out by saying that I have low writers-esteem. I get new ideas, and I'm SO excited about them, but then I'm reluctant to share them with anyone. Not only would that open me up to rejection (which is an issue in itself) but my low writers-esteem will trip me up before I even begin speaking. The comparing begins:

You know, I'll bet-- no, I KNOW this idea's been done before!

This is so un-original.

Wow, this is actually DUMB.

This person's going to hate it.

Man. Why can't I ever think of cool stuff?

Lately, I'm in the process of learning to ignore these pesky little voices, and just tell my ideas anyway. But because of my low writers-esteem, every little less-than-as-excited-as-I-am reaction will just "confirm" what I'm already believing about myself. Which is, in short, that nothing I write or come up with could possibly be as good or original or creative or captivating as those successes out there-- Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc. It's teenage girl syndrome, novel-writing style! "I'll never be prettiest." "I'm so dumb." "I'm not good enough." You've all heard or experienced it before.

But the thing about it is? Like all esteem issues, it's born out of one thing: comparison. Comparison stems a stream of lies, and the lies are fed by the seeds of doubt that're already buried somewhere in every writer, and one thing just leads to another. 

So. I've talked myself into a corner. There's such a thing as low writers-esteem, but how can it be fixed? How can you talk yourself out of that rut? How can you escape from the net you've woven yourself into?

The answer that applies to regular self-esteem issues, I believe, absolutely applies to this, too. 

Pick yourself up. Stop listening to the lies. Learn to distinguish between good criticism and honesty meant to build you up and things that just AREN'T TRUE, either because the person's hateful/stupid/mean-spirited, or because you assumed something that came from your own mind. Practice holding your head high and saying: "This is my idea. I LOVE it. It's awesome. And know what I'm doing? I'M WRITING IT. And I'm pretty sure others will love it, too. Because this is definitely a book I'D read."

Okay, maybe you can cut down on the cockiness. But you see where I'm going with this? Having low writers-esteem is just like shooting yourself in the foot. (Excuse the cliche.) It's time to stop believing those lies, and start believing what I believe about all of you (writers)-- you EACH have a unique, special story inside that only you can give to the world. And if you don't let it out, there is no one else to do it for you. It's worth your time. It's worth the agony, rejection, pain, and long days in the Land of Doubt. It's so, so, SO worth it.

Okay. Time for me to stop having a moment, and get something productive done. For the comments, have you dealt with writers-esteem issues? How did you/do you deal with it?

Best Part of Today: Tea.
Currently Craving: Chocolate. Doesn't matter in what form-- liquid, solid, truffle-shaped. Just CHOCOLATE.
Music Pick: "Love" by Matt White
I'm Reading: "Gathering Blue" by Lois Lowry
WIP: Aqueous (40,063 words)

10 epic comments:

I love Gathering Blue! ^_^

Anyway. Yes. I used to have lots of 'gah!' moments about my writing, because it wasn't good enough, and I didn't know how to fix it(thank you Renée! XD). I feel pretty confident about everything I write now, for the most part, because I'm forming each sentence so purposefully that I know what I've done is at least good, because I understand all the mechanics behind a good sentence now. If I get stuck on a sentence and just get it out, I'll mark it as made of suck and come back to it later. =) I like to call it confidence, because Renée generally keeps me from venturing across the fine line into cockiness, lol. I understand it's all from God, anyway, so I don't have any reason to feel all uppity, haha.

As for ideas, I don't know if I've ever felt that way—I'm always building them bigger and more complex/obsessing over every detail, so I don't know if I ever give myself time to go, oh, what would this person think? Is this as good as this book? Because I put it all into perspective that each book has its individual niche in the market that no one else can touch, so I'm not feeling threatened by other peoples' success. =) 'Tis a growing process, that I believe I'm coming out the other end of, currently. ^_^


Oh, and it also helps to compare my ideas to the Inheritance Cycle, and see how much more awesome mine are, and how much better I'm going to execute them. You know, for when I'm feeling despondent and need a little excitement boost. ;)


Man. I like having a twin. I read something like this, and all I do is nod and say, "That's so me. That's so me. What did she do, read my mind?"

I have issues with self esteem, especially in regards to writing. I haven't managed to actually get rid of it, so much as shove it in a corner and tell it to shut up for the moment. Except... even that doesn't work sometimes. It's something I need to work on.


@Amanda I feel like I'm always saying this to you... but it just keeps being true. You're AWESOME. I'm glad you're so confident in your writing. I don't think I could ever be THAT confident-- but we've yet to see!

@Twin Are you surprised? XD I mean... we're twins. But I am sorry for you, because I understand. I'll go ahead and get your self-esteem issues out of that corner and then blast 'em clear to the moon for you, okay? *starts thinking of way to do this*



@Maggie—I think it just takes lots of peer review, rationalization, and time/practice. I can see the noted difference between reactions to my writing, say, a year ago, and reactions to it now, and I know that, while it was alright then, and people still enjoyed the story, they like it lots now. That kind of outside feedback helps me to rebuke negative thoughts about myself/my writing/my ideas. I'm no longer afraid to let people read my stuff, because I NEED that opinion. I need it to live. =P

Socially…well, I still have negative-thought problems socially, because there's no open critique on social graces, lol. But I'm getting better, using the same methods of practice and rationalization I do for writing. ^_^

And I will accompany you on the grand quest to wrestle Constance's self-esteem issues out of the corner and get them into orbit. XD



Oh dear, what have I opened myself up to? xD


I've got pretty low writers esteem too. I'm always embarrassed to tell people my ideas and all that. But I think you're right - we have to remember that "hey, I love my idea. I'd read it, therefore others probably will too".


Me? Low self-esteem issues? *navel-gazes* Nope. But I realize I'm weird. If by weird, I mean the most awesome person ever!

Now, if this were a post about high self-esteem issues...



I think there's something in the water or maybe it's just a writerly thing that never goes away completely, but lately it seems like a lot of writers (me included) are having esteem problems with their writing. We all seem to be shooting ourselves in the foot and because we can't actually give up writing (that goes against, like, everything!) we drag around our injured foot and just make a big bloody mess of everything.

To get past those tiny voices in my head that try to tell me what I'm writing isn't good enough, I tell myself that what I'm writing HAS to be good enough because I'm doing my very best. If you're doing your "very best" you can't possibly fail's your VERY BEST.

Sure your very best might not be another writer's very best, but then that other writer's very best isn't YOUR very best either. You both have something else to offer the world through your writing. What you have to give may not sound (or be written) like theirs, but your gift is just a great because it's YOURS.

When I think about writing like this, that we're all doing our very best and it's good enough, the truth of that silences those tiny voices that say my writing sucks.


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