Writer's Survival Guide 5: Nourishing Our Self Esteem
As any writer knows, it's hard to keep a healthy ego. We might love our first draft but berate ourselves for mediocrity when we're in the middle of revisions. We might pat ourselves on the back for querying an agent, only to wonder why we even bother when we get a rejection two days later.
We see our peers online making happy announcements and feel inadequate at our lack of progression. We get that coveted contract only to dissolve into a scared mess at the massive revisions requested. Or we've published four books and no publisher wants our next ones.
Many writers find it very hard to maintain a healthy level of confidence.
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Every success threatens to push us toward an egotistical frame of mind, while every setback threatens the opposite.
How do we find a happy medium? Regardless of where we are on our writing path?
I don't know. I'm not always good at it.
One thing I do is allow myself to sit with whatever emotion I'm experiencing. If a long-awaited hope seems poised to come true and doesn't, I don't push back the tears. I get quiet within myself and feel the pain. Or if something wonderful happens, I dance around the house and dream as big as I can.
Maybe equalizing our emotional reactions sounds like a good idea, but it's never worked for me. Besides, we're writers. How can we write about a pain so deep it feels as if our blood is draining from our body and our muscles are withering within us if we never allow ourselves to experience the negative side of life? How can we describe the sensation of floating, spinning, dizzy with joy if we tell ourselves not to jinx things or that it could all go away?
Another thing I do is utilize positive self-talk. I don't prepare myself for the worst. I expect the best, knowing I will survive if the best doesn't happen. If my thoughts lean toward self-criticism, I shut them up. We need to talk to ourselves as we would a loved one. Because we ARE a loved one. We need to love ourselves.
The most important thing I do is pray. Maybe I'm not capable of making every one of my dreams come true, but God is. He can create paths for us where there is no path. We can rely on Him to put his arm around our shoulder and get us through the rough spots.
How do you nourish your self-esteem?
Enjoy your Monday!