Being a writer means you are insecure – it goes with the territory. Yet, that’s not the full story. As writers, we also have enough ego to think we can write something others will not only read, but also often pay to read. That’s chutzpa.
Still, most of us get mired in the insecure part. As the novelist Grace Metalious noted, I’m a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.” Still, her book Peyton Place became a best-selling phenomenon.
Here’s a suggestion to start now, so you will have it ready when you need it. Collect compliments. Make a file or set up a notebook and anytime you get a compliment about your writing – “I can’t get your main character out of my mind.” “Your description of that lake was wonderful.” “Your writing shows a lot of spunk.” “I love the way you showed how the dog was sad without saying he was sad.” – put it in your book. No matter what the size of the compliment, note it down, so when you get a rejection or have a day when you are certain you must be crazy to think you can write, you have a place to go to remind yourself that others like your work! It helps ward off the angry demons in your head – a little like using garlic on vampires!
Don’t stop with just collecting what others say. When you have a good day writing and are really proud of a paragraph or section, write that down in your notebook. It helps to remind you that you actually can write – look there, you did it, you love that passage!
Collect personal rejections. If the editor took the time to say anything personal about your submission, write it down. Personal rejections mean you are on the right path.
Note every time you get something published – a haiku, a short story, an essay, a book. It doesn’t matter where it was published, because the fact is you were competing with others and the editorial staff chose you. Bravo!
Keep this notebook at the ready, because you never know when your insecurities will attack head on. Be armed with knowledge that you are a writer and you are developing each day into a better one. The writer Truman Capote one said, “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended solely for self-flagellation.” Be gentle. Use your notebook to help you overcome the whip.