A lot of the time, writers are afraid to give themselves enough credit.
We are afraid of seeming too pompous. Like people will see us as the writer holed up in a shed fueled by cigarettes, spite, and gallons of alcohol writing the Most Epic Literary Work of All Time. We’re worried that if we brag about the work we do it will sound excessively self-important and annoying.
If someone likes their work, writers tend to shrug it off with a modest “oh, it has a lot of polishing left to do” or “after a few edits, maybe it will be worth reading, (LOL).” Someone says, “Wow, you wrote a book?” and the writer starts talking about all of the ways it could be better and it’s not that big of a deal, but, you know, thanks.
It’s true that it’s not acceptable to be an arrogant douche of an egoist who won’t shut up about every little achievement. No one wants to be around a person like that and there is such a thing as being too self-confident. How many stories have the antagonist defeated by the fatal flaw of hubris?
What we sometimes forget, while we’re busy modestly deflecting, is that a certain level of pride is just fine.
Authors and fellow Writers, it is right and correct for us to have self-confidence.
Arrogant, unjustified pride=no. Satisfaction and a sense of pleasant achievement=yes.
Being proud of the endless hours you spent fighting with the keyboard is not bragging. Feeling fulfilled when you think of the way you have grown as a writer is natural. It’s OK to think well of yourself for having the tenacity to write. What you did by shrugging off all of the rejections and plugging along anyway is amazing. It’s not hubris to say that, or admit that you’re proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished.
In fact, if there’s any hope of you having the grit and toughness to continue to create you must have a certain amount of pride in what you can do. You must have that feeling of satisfaction, and own it.
The day will come when someone says, “you wrote that? I loved it.” Doesn’t matter if they’re talking about a 200 word blog post or a 200K word novel. They liked your writing. You liked your writing, when you were busy pouring your heart and soul into it. It is acceptable to say so. It is even worth feeling proud of.
So right now, practice saying something along these lines in return: “Thank you. I really liked writing it and I’m proud of it.” As a little exercise, if there’s a particular piece of writing you’re proud of, put a link in the comments for me! I’d love to go over and read it so I can be proud of you too.
Go ahead and give yourself the credit. No one will think badly of you for taking it.
Featured image courtesy Stocksnap.io and Annie Spratt