Monday, February 18, 2008

Believe in Yourself

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

When I first came upon this quote years ago, the revelation was like a sunbeam piercing through a cloud-covered sky. Having spent my youth in hot pursuit of outside validation, the idea that I was actually "consenting" to feel inferior astonished me. And liberated me. Why would I consent to such a belief? Why should I? Hah!

We Can Be Anything We Want To Be.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown

Writers struggle most with that need for self-validation for many reasons. An artist can step back and take in a painting with one glance. Each book must be read one page at a time. A dancer can feel her limbs sway, a singer can hear her voice, but again, that book must be read One Page At A Time. So we sweat and worry, seek validation and reassurance, truly believing (once again) that outer validation will make the worry go away.

"Am I kidding myself about being a 'creative artist'? Can I possibly be a creative artist when I approach this effort in so methodical and left-brained a fashion?" ~~ Journal of a Novel, June 25, 1997 from Write Away by Elizabeth George

Truth is all artists feel the same pressure, the same worries, the insecurity that resurfaces time and time again. If you worry before you are published, chances are good you will sweat it out even when approaching your twenty-fifth novel. The words may change… Do I still have it? What if this one sucks? What will the critics say? Yet the need for reassurance remains the same.

"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies." ~Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive

We must believe in ourselves. While it's true (and obvious) that to become a successful writer one must put in the effort and produce pages regularly, success is not limited to financial or worldly recognition. The greatest outer success means nothing without self-appreciation or a firm recognition of Your Undeniable Worth. Successful people without self-appreciation are usually a mess (many examples spring to mind), as the gossipmongers love to remind us. Take a moment and think of people you've known, whether close up or from afar, who are self-confident, who love themselves and believe in themselves. Could there be a better definition of success?

"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." ~W.C. Fields

Last week, we looked at the relationship we have to writing. For better or for worse, right? Let's take a moment now and think of our greatest relationship of all. The glorious and amazing relationship we have with our own lovely, stubborn, crazy-ass selves. *grin* It's time to be our own best friends. Here's an exercise that is guaranteed to surprise you. Next time you look in the mirror, don’t just examine your make-up or check your hair. Don't frown and look away. Gaze deep into your own eyes and say those magical words: I Love You. Say it and mean it. The feelings this will stir up will astonish you. And one thing is certain, you'll realize this is something You haven't heard from You often enough. *smile*

"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable."
~Wendy Wasserstein

We are freaking amazing. We plot, we write, we edit, we revise, we stick to our goals and we prove that We Can Do It over and over again. Even when time slips away and we don't meet expectations one week, the next week we're back at it. Isn't that something? How delightful this writing life is! Yes, it's a challenge but what a joy… We climb mountains, soar through the sunny skies, trap fiendish villains, thrill to a clandestine lover's kiss, all within the lovely pages of our very own novels. Ah, what a life this is!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." ~Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1969

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them." ~Michael Jordan

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." ~Edmund Hillary

Are we ready for a new week? Stretched before us like a pristine page just waiting to be covered with profound or playful prose, is yet another week filled with potential and promise. Let's embrace our wildest expectations and push ourselves like never before. We're in our second month of the new year. Just think how much we can accomplish before summer's heat descends upon us. What amazing goals we can reach before the leaves once again drift from the trees.

Woo-hoo! What a year this will be!

Let's make some goals…

I'm making good progress outlining my next two books. The rom-com needs to stew some more so I'm being patient, pouring inspiration into the slow cooker on a regular basis. The paranormal suspense is opening up quicker so I'm letting the energy take me.

How about you?

Let's make this week soar!! Remember, We Are Writers! Now… Go-go-GO!!


Anonymous said...

A friend just told me about your wonderful blog. I love this, it's so inspirational!

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Thanks so much. Check back every week for more inspiration!