Monday, April 10

I think I can...or maybe not

I seem to be the "feelings" Wrangler--have you noticed that? Probably gets annoying, doesn't it? I know it does to me. I really thought this week that I might write something groundbreaking and useful about writing.

Hmmm...

Nails by Julie White
So, I have this problem with self-confidence. As in, I don't have much of it. I'm pretty happy with who I am (remember last week? Ordinary's good.) I like my hair color right now and I weigh 16
Hair color by Denee Douglass
pounds less than I did six months ago. My nails are good. The writing is going well--I think. The job at the library's good.

But...

When someone doesn't like me--especially if they don't even know me--I'm upset by it. I spend way too much time wondering how I can make them like me regardless of my perfectly good inner voice saying, You idiot. Why do you care?

A bad review--and, yeah, I've talked about this before--can send me off the rails for much longer than is warranted. Reviews, bad or good, are subjective. Like it or not, what someone else thinks of my work (or me) isn't any of my business. I hate that spiteful reviewers can do career harm, but engaging with them makes a writer look like...yeah, an idiot.

Many of my clothes look alike because it's so hard for me to find anything I think looks all right. So, yes, if I find something I feel okay wearing in public, I do buy one in every color.

I have bought too much makeup because when the representative in the store put it on, it looked wonderful. When I put it on myself, peering hyperopically into a mirror, it never quite works out and I worry that people will look at me and wonder what happened to my face.

Which brings me back to writing. I think sometimes I try too hard--not just to write well--but to write what I think my editor and publisher will like. I had quite a little debate going on in my head this week over the word "crap." I ended up not using it, which was fine, but spending time worrying about its use and bugging other people about what they think? Not so fine.

I wish confidence was like a new computer or ink for the printer or a new pen that fits your hand well; that way, you could just go get some and if it was over-the-top too much or undeveloped enough that you worry about using the word crap, you could just take it back.

Admittedly, I think too much confidence can be as bad as not enough, but I wonder--if I had more of it myself, would I still think that?

What do you think? And how do you feel about your own level of confidence?

Have a great week.

Liz

15 comments:

  1. I think most thinking people worry about other people's opinions--it's a hazard of not being a total narcissist. Personally, I think you're always beautiful, inside and out, and that your writing is brilliant, but I do the same thing about trying to make sure everyone is happy with me and my choices. I'm more confident now than I was twenty or even ten years ago, but that's not saying a lot. I'm not sure where the breaking point is between too much and too little confidence, but I wouldn't object to finding out. Great post, Liz!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! There is a line, isn't there?

      Delete
  2. I'm somewhere in the middle, most of the time, but I do worry way too much about what other people think. It's a struggle, but I think (like Nan) that I'm becoming more confident every year. And I wonder if I'll ever walk into a room filled with strangers and *not* wonder what they think of me/my clothes/hair/makeup...I don't have any great advice for you, but I can say (with confidence) that I like the person you are. You're a faithful friend, a talented writer, and a devoted wife/mom/grandmother --- and I think all those things are the most important things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bless you! Most days, I have confidence on a personal level, but it doesn't take much to convince me I'm wrong. :-) Professionally--still needs work.

      Delete
  3. I'm going to echo the others here and say you're a beauty inside and out regardless of how you see yourself. But we work in a hazardous-to-our-mental-health environment, one that intentionally sets us up for potential criticism with every word we write. So why do we write?
    Because we love to.
    Because we love the escape it brings, and the escape it offers others.
    Because we're wired that way.
    And if we can learn to write without worry, well, what a freeing feeling that would be. I've been pushing the creative limits on my recent WIP, and I have to say--it's been wonderfully liberating. Will publishers/editors/readers like it? Not sure (hoping so!) but this one? This one's for me. Perhaps that will help refresh my ink cartridges ;-) Hoping you can find a way to refresh too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kyra. Actually, this whole winter/early spring time has kind of been about refreshing, and most of my days are better ones. Just a whole lot of introspection going on--which I turn around and share!

      Delete
    2. Awesome. :-) And thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  4. My self confidence tends to rise and fall with reviews and weight as well. All I can say is, you aren't alone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That right there means a lot, you know? Since writing is such a solitary thing, knowing we aren't REALLY alone is a good thing.

      Delete
  5. Liz- I will sprinkle you with fairy dust so you can be as perfect as I am... ;-)
    Or, better yet, you just be you, because I love your humanity, your humility, and your humor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet! Thank you for the fairy dust, too--I'm going to put a little of it back for when I need it again.

      Delete
  6. Liz, great post. Your post sounds like much of my self-talk. I tell myself what other people say/think does not matter yet it does. Negative comments to me just hurt. Sometimes it is so helpful to know that we are not all alone in our doubts and fears. In my opinion you totally rock and I love your writing. If you need a pep talk just let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carolyn. I've been needier in the past months than I like to be, and I'm so thankful for the friend support.

      Delete
  7. As everyone here has said, you're not alone. I think we all struggle with self-confidence to some degree. My weight, reviews of my books, and sales (or lack thereof) effect my self-confidence. I only know you through this blog (and the last one we both wrote for), but your humility and introspection and emotion is what I love about your posts. Never apologize for being you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jana. Like I told Carolyn, I'm so grateful for the friend support--and I admit to being surprised by the depth of some friendships that may never be pursued in person. It's a nice thing to realize.

      Delete