Self-esteem isn’t just something we can say, “Hey I’m gonna have this!” It doesn’t work like that. But, it can be learned over time.
So many authors are proud of what they have written, they know it is good, but still they have an issue putting themselves out there! Poor self-esteem can manifest itself in many ways. It can contribute to all sorts of health issues: depression, sadness, withdrawal from life, and more.
As writers, what are ways we can build our own self-esteem? Many authors feel bad about themselves from time to time. They doubt their work is worthy or they simply don’t know how to portray themselves as confident and knowledgeable. These feelings may be triggered when someone criticizes your work or takes issue with something you have written. If we don’t handle rejection well, this can trigger those feelings mentioned in paragraph two. We begin to give ourselves the negative talk by questioning our self-worth and/or our talent.
You have a right to feel good about yourself and your work. Start by paying attention to your own wants and needs, both as a person and as a writer. For instance, set aside some time every day or at least a couple of times a week to just write. Find a quiet place where you can be alone. Just do what you love. Then go back and reread what you have written. Okay, maybe it isn’t the best thing you have done, but that is what editing is for. Rework it again….you will probably see that with a little refining, it is something you are proud of.
Get enough sleep! As writers, sometimes we tend to stay up too late writing. Maybe that’s the only time you get alone because the children are in bed. Well, that’s okay now and then, but if you are sleep-deprived, you aren’t going to be at your best. Get at least 8 hours sleep. I know, we are busy…but make sure at least 5 days a week you are getting 8 hours and you will see that you start feeling better about yourself and your writing.
If you are writing and are having a day where things aren’t going so well, stop. Simply stop and start again the next day. We all have those off days, but don’t let them get you down. It is okay to take a break if you know what you are producing isn’t your best work. During your break, get some exercise, eat some good healthy meals and read something inspirational. You’ll soon find that your head is back on track and you can write wonderful things!
The best thing we can do as writers, is to change our negative thoughts into positive ones. If you are having self-doubt, change your thought process. Don’t say: “This really sucks.” “I have lost my talent.” “No one can ever read this, it’s awful.” Instead keep saying to yourself: “Wow, this is some of the best writing I have ever done.” “I do have talent and I’m ready to share it with others.” By continuing to say positive things to yourself, even when you really don’t believe it, it will become a habit and become ingrained in your thought process.
Be around positive people who inspire and encourage you. We all have those people in our lives who live to criticize us and others. If you are already feeling bad about yourself or your writing, stay away from those people. Don’t share your writing with them. Find that one friend or relative that believes in you and is always encouraging. Share with them and feed off of their encouragement and kindness.
Finally, learn to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts:
I am a lousy writer. I am a talented writer.
There is nothing here worth sharing. I’m going to share this with someone for some positive feedback.
I’ll never get anything published. I will be published one day.
No one wants to read what I write. Wow, I’m sure someone will really love this!
It really does help to reinforce positive thoughts by repeating them to yourself over and over. Relax, take a deep breath and know that you are a talented person!