Sometimes I think that writers have the lowest self-esteem of any creature on this planet. We constantly judge ourselves. We second-guess word choices, plot lines, even calling ourselves a writer. We can’t even tell others about our stories without blushing!
Now, to a certain extent, it’s natural to worry about our creations like this. I mean, seriously. A writer puts a lot into his or her novels. Who wouldn’t be worried about what others will think?
But … there’s something every author should know about writing. And today I’m going to tell you about it.
Do you ever feel like you’re just not moving forward?
That your writing is worse than everyone else’s?
That you just can’t be a writer … because your writing just isn’t enough?
You’re not alone, my friend. Many writers all over the world feel like that. Even professional writers feel like that! It’s not limited to newbies or people who aren’t well-established.
We all doubt ourselves. Oftentimes without need. Unfairly.
This is going to be a somewhat short post because I don’t have a lot to say on this subject. The truth is simple, as truth often is.
Your writing is enough.
I can see you rolling your eyes now. Well, knock it off, because I do have something to add to that.
You see … it’s true that writers are self-critics. Sometimes with reason, sometimes without. But whether you are Jane Austen or Kellyn Roth (*coughs*), you are enough for this time in your life.
If you’re just sitting around on your butt all day not doing anything, then that may not be true … but if you’re actually writing, then you’re doing great!
Whenever someone asks me in an interview what my #1 piece of advice for aspiring writers is, I say, “Just keep writing.” (If you can repeat that multiple times in a Dory from Finding Nemo voice, all the better!)
If you’re writing … you’re progressing. Because every word you type is going to teach you something.*
*trust me. I think I read it on Pinterest somewhere …
A couple weeks ago before church I decided to shoot a quick video on how I’ve progressed as a writer.
I thought I’d share it on social media but decided not to as I rambled a lot (as well as got emotional … well, as emotional as I get!), and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense!
However, I think I’d like to share it with you today.
As you can no doubt tell, it’s a terrible vlog, but here’s the basics of what I said.
A while back, I was reading a post by my friend, Abigayle Claire, about why you need a professional editor before you publish. I just started using an editor (Abi, actually) and am very happy with it.
Before this year, I published two novels, a novella, and a short story without an editor. I don’t know how I feel about that, to be honest. Makes me feel exposed now that I’ve experience an editor.
But the thing is, a couple months ago I would have told you I am a great author. I have raw writing talent, and I was perfectly okay. I didn’t need to learn because I had it down. I wasn’t worried about becoming better – because I was better.
However, recently I’ve learned that I need to improve a lot. I joined a community called Young Writers’ Workship (YWW) and started to talking to people on there. At that time, I was also going through beta-readers for At Her Fingertips.
I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this, but I thought of AFOP as my best work. The best story I would ever come up with and write. I was sooo impressed with it.
Then I realized it wasn’t perfect … and neither was my writing.
I was kinda depressed at first. I thought, “I guess I’m not talented.” Or at least not as talented as I thought I was.
But as I started thinking about it, I realized that all authors (except Jane Austen) aren’t perfect. They’re always learning something.
All authors should be out looking for ways to improve their writing as long as they live. They should never be conceited or feel that they are perfect or stop trying to grow as a writer and seek advice and help.
At the same time, you can’t play the comparison game. You can compare yourself to yourself and God – that’s it. Beyond that is pointless.
I will occasionally play the comparison game – I hold myself up to other authors, bloggers, graphic designers, etc., and say, “How do I compare?” But I shouldn’t do that! It does no one any good, let alone me.
I need to realize that I, like every other author, am a work-in-progress. I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be the best Kellyn I can be – through God – and that’s as far as it can go.
I am growing in the ways I need to be growing, and other authors are growing in the ways they need to be growing. Maybe you’re better about one writing thing than other authors – or maybe you’re not! It just doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you keep on writing and don’t give up and keep on keeping on!
After I’d realized that At Her Fingertips wasn’t perfect, I looked at a book I wrote about four years ago, The Heirs of the Trunk. It was pretty awful, to be honest, but there were some things about it that were okay.
I recognized my writing habits. They weren’t bad writing habits, though there were plenty of those. They were just writing habits, and they were mine. I could still see my habits … and I could still see my characters. Which, to me, is the most wondrous thing of all.
And yes, I have grown so much. I have learned a lot about writing. Everything is so much better.
But … there are things that I do not have to give up! I’m still in my writing. In four years, I will look back at the novels I’m writing now and think, “Wow, why did I do that?” But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s my writing – and in an odd way, I’m still proud of it, mistakes and all.
I know I’ll look back and think that my writing was pretty awful “back then” in four years, but nothing is ever going to change to make me less of a writer or more of a writer. I’m always a writer … and I’m always growing. That doesn’t make me less of a writer than anyone else!
So don’t become discouraged! If you write, you are an author. The need to grow doesn’t make you invalid. That’s the end of it.