As you may know, I’ve had a lot of downtime over the past three weeks and that gave me tons of time to think.
Now, that isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it can be creative and sometimes it can be depressing. During this slow healing process, I’ve taken a good long look at myself.
Some call this “Shadow work.” I call it being honest with myself about every aspect that makes up my being.
Yes, I have gone through every one of the emotions shown. I’ve gone from telling myself that I’m stumbling through life pretending, to realizing I have a gift that is only mine and I must share it.
Introspection is not always pleasant. I’m not a fan of facing my fears, my insecurities, or my failings. It’s much easier to float through life without much thought.
But, I realized something through these bouts of self-micro inspection. All of us are complex creatures. We are multi-dimensional beings. We are connected by an invisible thread of common energy and we’re all on this crazy little whirling rock together. And, we all suffer varying degrees of pain and despair from time-to-time.
I saw something the other day about how we perceive ourselves in our everyday worlds and it got me thinking about how we see ourselves as writers. How much value do you place on yourself as a writer?
And what does that even mean? It may mean something different to each one of us because we are unique individuals. But, there are some aspects of writing that are the same for all. In this world of self-publishing where anyone can upload a book to Amazon, we have all experienced running across books that are sub-par in every aspect from grammar and punctuation to dialogue and unbelievable characters. What kind of impression does that leave with you about the writer?
I do not want to be known as a writer who produces work riddled with errors. Of course, we make mistakes. We are human. But, to gain credibility in this over-crowded industry, we must strive to make every aspect of our written communication as perfect as possible.
That doesn’t mean just our books. That means our blogs, our tweets, our facebook posts and our emails as well. It all reflects on us as self-claimed professionals.
But, in order to value our writing, we must first value ourselves!
I never thought about my self-image reflecting in my writing, especially with writing fiction. After all, it’s a made-up world with made-up people. But, the part that reflects is the pride we take in our writing. For me it all starts with a clean uncluttered writing space (again, I know we are all different). If my work space is clear, my mind is more at ease and I can get into a creative flow.
Expressing the scene we see in our minds is not always the easiest thing to do. When we start to put it into words, if we don’t choose the best descriptive words possible, the scene starts to get fuzzy around the edges and can fade. I use tools. Next to my computer, I have three reference books I grab often. “Emotional Beats” by Nicholas Rossis (who is a member of RRBC) is a fantastic tool to find a more descriptive way to show an emotion, as is “The Emotion Thesaurus” by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman. Those gals know how to put it all together as does Nicholas! The third book I reach for is “Strong Verbs Strong Voice” by Ann Everett.
The saying comes to mind about doing things right the first time. Any extra effort is reflected in our work. So, even though it might take a few more minutes to reach for one of these tools, it’s worth it in the end product. And, our work is a product.
Another aspect of valuing ourselves comes from valuing others. I know that may sound strange, but it is true. Don’t compare yourself to other writers because there are always going to be writers better than you. And even if your best friend, who has been only writing since last spring, did get published, you can’t wallow in self-doubt that you’re not good enough. Take this negative comparing energy and move it towards positive creating energy. Your time will come. Get back into your chair and create! Oh, and create some good karma and congratulate your friend with love and sincerity.
When I was accepted as a member into the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, I knew I had to “up” my game. It is advertised and promoted as the place where the best writers within RRBC reside. And, it has been a great motivator for me. I now proof every email, tweet, FB post and blog post before I hit the publish button. Why? Because I don’t want bad writing to reflect on the organization that so kindly accepted me as a member. AND, I don’t want to be that writer who is criticized for constant grammatical errors. I do value myself as a writer!
If you want others to value you as a writer, it all starts with YOU. Take pride in your work and value what you do. I have read some of the best books in my life written by indie authors! Slowly but surely, we are breaking the misconception that all indie writers are writing slobs. And it all goes back to valuing yourself as an author!
I loved this when I ran across it. Don’t mark your price tag down. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you see yourself as a professional in an industry that is over-saturated with sloppy work. We can continue to change that one great story at a time!