Writerly Esteem

Rabbit - runThis is turning into a regular topic for me.  Clearly it’s something that’s on my mind a lot.  But this time, instead of drowning you with my own ramblings, I’m going to subject you to the (at least slightly) more ordered thoughts of others.

J.A.Conrath has written a typically blithe and cheeky post on writers self-esteem over on his blog, called ‘I’m Better than You‘.  He says:

I’m a much better writer than you are.  Sure, I know that taste is subjective. But if we could wave a magic wand and strip away personal taste and bias, leaving only the raw, core elements of what makes writing good, everyone would know the truth: That I’m the greatest writer to ever live.

But don’t be fooled by his humility.  Just make sure you finish reading the post, otherwise you’ll miss the punch line.  His posts have a wonderful way of making you laugh at yourself, while also being grounded and genuine and giving some of the best advice when it comes to surviving this industry.  His was the first blog I started reading as a new writer, and I still check in regularly.

Then Alan Rinzler, a consulting editor and past therapist, blogged about ‘How successful writers keep up their confidence‘.  He comments that:

The most accomplished and productive writers I work with are able to sustain a level of assurance and optimism. And that’s even when they’re  feeling blocked, burned out, and unappreciated.  It’s admirable and a little amazing they’re able to do this, since there’s so much hard work and delayed gratification in writing a book.

He goes on to list a number of excellent tips on keeping up your confidence, including my personal favourite: Embrace irrational exuberance and obsessive compulsions.  I have this one down pat.  Although I am mildly disappointed he did not include my own favourite method of fighting off the blues (chocolate consumption).

So, now that we have enough self-esteem to inflate a small planet, what are we going to do tonight?  The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world.  Cue evil laugh.

(And for Non-Pinky and the Brain fans, just ignore me)

8 Responses to “Writerly Esteem”

  1. 1 eBookGuru February 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    There is truth to J.A. Conrad says. It’s important to be confident in your own abillity if you want to accomplish anything with a career in writing. It is about knowing you can do it, and do it well.

    I think the same thing could be said about any other career choice though. If you choose to believe you can, you will.


  2. 2 Katherine Battersby February 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I think you’re probably right, Trevas. Any achievement in any career requires a level of confidence in yourself.

    I think where many creative industries differ is that the journey is so long and tough, that often all you have is a belief in yourself – there’s often no feedback from the external world that you’re progressing, and often little encouragement or recognition from the industry. At these times, belief in self is even more important.

    I agree that self-belief can be really powerful. It’s something worthwhile getting good at!

  3. 3 janebretl February 19, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I enjoyed the link to J.A. Conrath’s blog. I am new to his work and enjoyed the way he grabbed attention at the opening and slyly came around to his actual point. His comments stirred a lot of controversy! I did not see anything to argue about… he expressed himself, his opinion, beautifully.

  4. 4 Katherine Battersby February 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Hi Jane. I quite enjoy J.A’s cheeky style too. But no matter how brusque he comes across, he’s genuinely interested in giving other ‘newbie’ writers hope and encouragement. He often stirs a bit of controversy on his blog – probably because he makes black and white statements with little grey in between. But I think part of this is to stir up discussion and possibly a bit of publicity too :) He’s a clever man.

  5. 5 Chris February 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I have to agree with him – I do exactly the same thing.

  6. 6 Madeline Stephenson March 24, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Very nice Pinky and the Brain reference, Kath! I very much liked the blog by J.A. Conrath. In fact, I passed it on to my fellow editors. We very much try to send positive rejection letters, if there is such a thing, but sometimes it is hard. I thought it might give us more incentive to make ALL our rejections positive. I have more to say, but it will have to wait. I am off to a class at Lighthouse Writers, Inc. Wish me luck! https://lighthousewriters.org/workshop/detail/id/17/

  7. 7 Katherine Battersby March 26, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Wow – that writing course looks great, Mady. Hope you had a productive and inspiring time!

  1. 1 scaredy-pants « jane, candid Trackback on March 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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