I am a great writer

In the recent Storywonk course I took with Lani Diane Rich, she ended each class by making us type (and say out loud) I AM A GREAT WRITER. She explains why in this podcast, but here’s the gist:

There are people lining up to tell you that you’re not good enough or smart enough to be a writer or that the genre you write in is ‘wrong’ or that you should be doing something sensible with your life – don’t do their job for them.

Like most (all?!) writers I know, valuing my work is something I struggle with on a daily basis, so posts like this one by Theodora Goss are very helpful. I’m trying to follow her advice. I’m trying not to put myself down, to resist the urge to say ‘this is rubbish’ when asking someone to read my work; as Goss says, ‘writing is hard enough without the preemptive put-down’.

Something funny happened last week. I got a rejection (that’s not the funny bit) and, although I stomped around the house swearing and banging cupboard doors, I felt a strange flickering pride spark into life. It left a warm glow of resolve that – I hope – will sustain me as I continue to submit.

It seems that while I excel at the preemptive put-down and fail (repeatedly) at the ‘I am a great writer’ mindset, my lack of self-confidence has a kink to it… When someone says ‘awesome job’ I hear ‘yeah, right; you are having a laugh’ but when I get a rejection, I think, ‘sod that; I’m going to prove you wrong’. Oddness.

[The image is of a Thoreau quote made into a wall plaque, available here for £9.50]

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