Although this post directly speaks to writers, I believe it applies to many other people as well.
I’ve spent more and more time among other writers in the past year, whether online or in-person, and it’s becoming more and more evident how prevalent self-deprecation is in the community. I see or hear writers spout overly humble if not purely critical judgments of their stories and writing skills on a daily basis, and I think it’s important to fight against this growing habit.
Writing is a critical hobby and profession. Criticism is not only unavoidable, but necessary for the growth of one’s story and writing skills. Writers must be able to acknowledge flaws and work towards bettering them, again and again and again.
Nonetheless, the current prevalence of self-deprecation among writers is unnecessary if not subtly damaging. As I said, writing is already a profession that involves regular criticism and rejection. It can be very emotionally taxing and discouraging.
Don’t contribute to that pool of self-doubt. Fight back.
Just as writing is critical, it’s also very difficult. It requires hours upon hours of brainstorming, writing, re-writing, editing, reading, and researching. Even if your short story or manuscript isn’t to its full potential yet, or you aren’t represented by an agent, or you have yet to make a book deal, you should be proud of the work you have put in. Not everyone can or is willing to do what you do, so take a moment to acknowledge the importance of that effort—and then pat yourself on the back.
Furthermore, writers have their own unique skills. Maybe one writer excels in dialogue while another masters character development. Instead of focusing solely on what you cannot yet do, take a moment to consider what you can. What makes you unique as a writer? What makes your stories unique? What do you enjoy about writing? What do you have to be confident about?
We live in a society that often villainizes confidence, but try not to fall into that trap. Confidence is key. It will keep you going through the difficult days of rejection, and it will be necessary when it comes to finding an agent or publicizing your books. If you aren’t confident in your own writing, why should someone else be?
Don’t fall into a trap of self-deprecation. Just as it is necessary to acknowledge and edit faults in writing, it is also important to recognize the good and feel confident in it. Find your reasons to be confident, and then share that confidence.
I write YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. This blog is dedicated to thoughts and advice on writing and publishing, as well as various interests related to the world of Young Adult.