What I am saying is when it comes to my life as a professional anything, I've got a case of the emos and I've got it bad. I downplay not only my strengths as a writer, but also as a individual. I assume I'm annoying and burdensome to others and tend to shy away from asking for help or offering help. All too often, I allow people to walk all over me taking without giving a single thing in return as they flush me down the toilet without a backward glance.
It ain't pretty. Frankly, I'm over it. The more I ponder the situation, the more I realize believing I'm the only person stuck in this never-ending cycle of self-loathing is cocky and ignorant. This belief that I am NOT alone and there are others out there dealing with this same lack of confidence only strengths my desire to get over myself.
To that end, I've been attempting to:
1. Acknowledge my negative attitude toward myself and create a positive one.
This hasn't been done on my own, but with the help of the lovely Angie Richmond (aka life coach of amazeballzness). What appears to be a simple task has rocked my whole existence. For example:
Negative: I'm a burden to others and I shouldn't bother them.
Positive: These are my friends and they genuinely want to help me.
Furthermore, by asking for their help, I am showing them I trust them.
Simple yet powerful.
2. Cultivate the healthy relationships in my life, while weeding out the diseased ones.
This is easier said than done and it's taken me a long time to say no to unhealthy relationship. However, it's a MUST. These relationships are not only ones in the "real" world, but online as well. I don't want friends who puff me up with inflated praise. Yet, people who are only interested in using me for their own ends have got to go.
It is one thing to take the advice of well meaning and helpful professionals [and it's important, PLEASE don't get me wrong. Listen to the professionals!]. It is another thing to let it hold you hostage in a never-ending cycle of OH MY GAWD I'M DOING EVERYTHING WRONG. I have got to stop panicking every time I see a tweet from an agent talking about things they find annoying in their slush piles. Furthermore, I have to start trusting in my own opinion and the opinions of those around me.
4. I NEED to give credit to the opinions of those closest to me.
At some point, while looking up how to get publish online, someone will say to you: So you've written a novel and your best friend and your partner and your dog LOVE IT and think it's fan-freaking-tastic. That's great. It's not. Get back to work.
And I get it. Believe me, I do. However, I think it discredits the positive and constructive advice of those closest to you. Listen, my husband is my BIGGEST critic. He will tell me when something stinks and when he thinks something is good. Oh, the arguments we've had. To discredit his belief that my manuscript is good and publishable makes absolutely no sense. I should trust in him, first and foremost.
Which leads to the hardest of hards:
5. I MUST trust in myself and my ability.
Because this is what it ALL comes down to. At some point, I have to be comfortable with the thought that I believe I am a good enough writer to get published and that doesn't make me an egomaniac or insane or delusional. It makes me confident in my ability and confidence does not mean stuck up or proud or blind.
I do NOT believe I've written the next Pride and Prejudice. I do NOT believe I will be awarded a Noble Bell prize in Literature. However, I do believe I wrote a good book with an interesting plot and a lovely protagonist. I believe a lot of hard work and dedication will not only make it better but get it published.
Writing is personal. It's challenging. The road to publication is filled with sinkholes and detours. At the end of the day, the one thing a writer needs to believe is that all this, the hair pulling and sleepless nights and aching wrists and self-doubt and panic, is worth it.
I'm confident it is.