Friday, October 16, 2009

Writer Self-Esteem

Current Week's Word Count: 2,954
The White Lilac's Total: 60,888
Favorite Book of the Month: Catching Fire By: Suzanne Collins

I have been writing for several years now and one area I still feel I struggle with is my self-esteem. I mean, I know that I have grown as a writer. I enjoy laughing at myself and the stories I wrote when I was young. My spelling, grammar and mechanics have improved a hundred-fold. I know my audience and I know I am not boring. Yet when I send off a short story, a manuscript or enter a contest, there is this sinking feeling deep inside me that I am not good enough.

If writing was the kind of venue where an individual could compete against his/herself I would be fine. There is no pressure, just learn from my past mistakes and keep growing. No sweat! But it's not. Not only do I have to compete with other writers who are starting out like me, but I have to compete against well-established writers, NY Times bestsellers and all those literary geniuses who died hundreds of years ago. No matter how good I feel about what I write, I know there are thousands of great, brilliant writers out there who I would love to sit and listen to no matter what they were talking about.

There are times when I hate reading because I know that if I lived for a million years I would never think of writing the story I'm reading and I wish I could. Some books I've read the language is so poetic, even if the story is boring, I have to read every line. Other books have twists and turns I could not anticipate or characters I remember for years. How did the author do that? Did it come naturally or (hopefully!) was it something they learned? All I can do is pick up my pen, open a Word document and keep writing. One day someone may think the same thing about me and I will have to give them the archived web address for this post if they don't believe me.

What area do you struggle with the most in your writing pursuit?


  1. I would agree with this self-esteem stuff. I don't write because as long as it isn't read, no one can tell me how poorly I write (well that along with an incredible lack of time). In my head the stories are fantastic, but to put it down and get it out would be such incredible bravery, maybe beyond what I have.

  2. Yeah, I swing between believing my stories are brilliant and believing they are stupid. Noramlly brilliant before I send it out and then stupid as I'm waiting for a response. :) Laughing at oneself does help a bit. Crying does too. :)

  3. I also have a problem with self-esteem. Everyone always says "You're amazing, you have a gift!" But upon seriously critiquing my own work it looks vague, repetitive, going in all directions at once. Thanks for the encouragement, I know I'm not alone!