Affirm Your Esteem as a Writer
by Ron Kurtus (revised 3 April 2003)
Your esteem as a writer is established by self-appraisal of the quality of your work. You must constantly reaffirm that you are a good writer. Self-esteem is fragile, and there are some who may try to lower your esteem through unfair criticism.
You must not let others affect how you feel about your work. You should feel that your writing is good and certainly the best you can do.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you gain self-esteem as a writer?
- What can you do about criticism?
- How do you affirm or reaffirm your esteem?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Your self-esteem is the regard or respect you have for yourself. It is having a favorable opinion, judgment or appraisal of your talents and skills. You need to like yourself and the work you do.
How do you rate yourself as a writer? You can look at your work and evaluate it. Do you like what you wrote?
Some people are overly self-critical, such that they set standards that they never can achieve. Be careful that you don't judge yourself too harshly.
Compare with the masses
Obviously, there are some people with more talented than you. Don't compare yourself with the geniuses or the stars. Rather emulate them and use them as models.
Instead, compare yourself with the average and with your past abilities. If you are better than average, you can hold you head up high. If you are writing much better than you used to, it is something about which to be proud. That builds up your esteem.
You can say that you are a pretty good writer. Perhaps you are a darn good writer. Perhaps you aren't the best in the world, but you are better than most.
Dealing with criticism
All forms of writing sets you up for criticism. Some may disagree with the content of what you write, which is fine. Everyone can have his or her opinion.
Your own criticism
Writers are usually their worst critics. That is why many re-write their material over and over until they get it right. Unfortunately, some people are never satisfied and never really become writers. You have to know what is good and when what you do is good enough.
A good writer studies the craft. That means you should read what other good writers write, examining their style and methods. It is also necessary to write very much. That means to write letters and perhaps write a journal or your experiences.
It is always worthwhile to have a third party check over your written material for spelling, grammatical, style and content errors. Professional editors are the best, although a writer will often use another writer or even a friend to edit the material.
A problem can occur when the person doing the editing overdoes the process and tries to impose his or her will on the project. Such an insensitive person can cause you to doubt your abilities and the quality of your work. If the person doing the editing is too much of a nitpicker or someone who seems to relish cutting up another person's work, it is best to avoid using that person if you can.
Take corrections for what they are worth, but do not let the remarks from a person acting as an editor lower your self-esteem as a writer.
There are also people looking to elevate themselves by putting others down. They will not only criticize your work but may make personal comments about you. "Your writing is terrible. And not only that, you're fat too."
Realize that such people aren't talking about you. They are talking about themselves and their own insecurities. Consider the source and don't let their opinions affect you. Rather, avoid getting an opinion from such people, if you can.
Unfortunately, some parents give their children negative comments that can lower the child's self-esteem. Usually parents want the best for their children, but some parents just discourage their kids from excelling. "Your writing is no good. You'll never succeed as a writer. Why don't you do something more useful?"
It is tough to overcome such criticism when you are young. After a child reaches the rebellious age or becomes an adult, he or she may just ignore the parent's criticism. But that doesn't mean there is no hurt involved. If this happens to you, the best thing to do is to affirm and reaffirm your belief in your skills and the quality of your work.
You have to often reaffirm your belief in yourself. Look at your work and honestly say, "Hey, I do good work. I can always improve, but what I do is good."
When you look at your work, you should be proud of what you did. You should feel that you do good work. You've got to constantly tell yourself this to overcome the negative people. Telling others may convince a few, but it may also be considered bragging.
One important thing in having pride in your work is to make sure that everything you write is well done. This includes letters to friends and relatives and e-mail. Always use a spell-checker before you send e-mail. Use the spell-checker and grammar checker for any document written on a word processor, especially those you send to other people. Taking such care means you have pride in your work and affirms your self-esteem as a writer.
You must look at your work and feel it is well-done to have self-esteem as a writer. Compare yourself with the mass of writers. Remember that every writer is critiqued or edited. Don't let critics get you down. Look at your work and reaffirm that you are a good writer. A writing career is a lot of work, but it is well worth the effort.
You do good work and you are a champion
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