Ladies: We talked before a little bit about self-esteem as writers and as people. In an earlier post I talked about how we manage our households and juggle our time. Today, I've got a relevant Glimpse-Into-MindyLand (oh, it's a fascinating place) that I think will resonate with my readers.
I've got a friend & co-worker who is the blunt type, the one that calls you out on your shit - and really, we all need at least one of those to keep us honest. She's also my Mary Kay lady. So when she brought me down some new makeup the other day and showed me how to use it (I freely admit to my ineffectual makeup use) a conversation went thus:
Me: Yeah I know I haven't been doing my face a lot lately for work.
Friend: Or your hair.
Me: Right, I know. I really need some new clothes, but don't have the extra cash to buy some. So when I wake up in the morning I look in my closet and think, all these clothes look dumpy, so why bother doing my face and my hair when my clothes look like this? Then I bought some new clothes, but when I put them on they looked bad cause I gained some weight, which made me feel crappy, so when I woke up the next day I felt even crappier, and thought why do my hair and my face if my body looks bad? Internal thought: Wow. I didn't know all that was in there. I just totally dumped on Friend.
Friend: *cocks her head and looks at me like I'm stupid* You know that's a completely self destructive thought cycle, right?
So sometimes we need that friend who says - "Guess what? You're totally screwing yourself right now."
And I think this applies in our writing too. We get down on ourselves. We re-read last night's work and say, "That is horrible, that is crap, why did I ever think I could be a writer?" And we stop trying. We read a best seller and think, "This is incredible, this is what it takes to be a writer, I cannot do that."
And isn't that kind of thinking tantamount to comparing ourselves to the models on the magazine covers, or actresses with free time to go the gym everyday and the money to go the salon before they go out? These writers (some of them) have been doing this for years; their skills are honed, they've had professional feedback from other writers and editors. Some of them have the ability to make a living off their writing, instead of in those stolen moments.
This same Friend said to me one time, "You know, you could be a 10 but you treat yourself like 5." So tell yourself today when you sit in front of that laptop / notebook / desktop / blank piece of paper - I'm a 10 dammit! And I'm going to write like one!