Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Backing Yourself

(Photo: photo bucket)

Standing Up
There's a moment that I suspect happens in every writer's life, like a patch of light that finally enters your being and you understand your own words in a way you never have before.

When that moment happened for me crawled into that very light and did something I've never done before.
I stood up.

The Moment You Back Yourself
Last week I was re-reading the first couple of paragraphs in my WIP and I found myself doing something I always do. I deleted it. (Don't worry, I have backups)
Computer pushed aside, I went to my books shelf and pulled down all the authors I admired and read their first chapters. Then I berated myself for my own flimsy attempt, for every thinking I could write and finally for daring to breathe in the present of these books. (Tell me I'm not the only one who does this?)

Then it happened.
This little voice, kind of shaking, stood up inside me and spoke. (Go with me here)
"Tab, you aren't ever going to write those chapters or even one like them," it said.
I found myself asking why not. (If you don't talk to yourself then I suggest you get started. All sorts of great things are learnt in conversations with ourselves)
"You're not going to write those chapters, " the voice said, "because you aren't those authors. You weren't those authors then and you aren't those authors now, and I hate to break it to you, but you never will be. You are you. And the kind of first paragraph,  first chapter, indeed first book you will write will be one that has never been written before, because YOU are the author. YOU. And you alone."

I thought on that for a long time. Then I agreed with myself. I looked my book squarely in the eye and declare the thing mine. That's right. I owned it. I finally decided to accept that I am a writer whose best is yet to come. Everyday I grow.  There is much to be learnt from other authors, but I finally lost the desire to BE another author. I want to be me. I want my words. They are mine and I like em fine.
The expanding confidence in my work has astounded me. There's less second guessing my writing style, my voice and my unique flow of words on a page. In short, I am embracing me and where I am at on this Carnival Ride that we call The Writing Life.

What about you? Do you back your own work?


  1. I think it's the only thing we can do, because if we don't stand up for what we believe in, how can anyone else?

  2. I hear you loud and clear! I've wanted to write like John Steinbeck or Kathi Appelt...or any number of other authors. But I can't. I can only write like me. I just wish I had started earlier in my life. Keep standing up Tabitha let your inner writer cheer you on.

  3. very overwhelmingly self indulged image:-)

    its reminds me the book''you can heal yourself''
    chapter''loving onself''

  4. Oh, girl, you are so not the only one who does this. I'm right there with you. Thanks for this reminder this morning!

  5. Definitely. It's one of my favorite inspirations ... Own it! When we do, the craft and the words have a way of becoming truly who we are.

  6. Jumping up and down here, Tab. I think we all have those thoughts when we read something brilliant and wish we were that other person. But each of us is unique and have our own way of expressing. I love the words that flow out of you.

  7. Discovering who you are as a writer is a beautiful thing. Hold on to that!

  8. I can totally relate to how you felt, but you are totally write. You are you and the kind of book you write will be completely unique.

  9. Oh my goodness, YES to this post. This is the best advice anyone can ever take.
    Yes, I back my work. I back myself knowing I might make mistakes, have awkward sentences, passive writing...but I back myself because I also know I have great passion in my writing, that I love my stories and the messages they send. I love myself and God loves me too. *grin* Wonderful post, Tabitha!!!

  10. We are all unique, with unique voices, and should never try to be someone else. As the song says "Be true to yourself and you'll always be true to me."

    That goes for everything in life. :)

  11. I do. I believe that, to be exceptional at anything, there has to be some ego going on, some swagger. I just wish I could translate some of that from what I *do* to who I *am*.

  12. I have a piece I wrote in 2006. I want to self-publish it now. I reread it and found a four-page piece in the middle that I moved to a newly created prologue. Oh, my goodness! It looks like some famous author put it there!

    Just kidding. But the exact same words and paragraphs have finally been put where they belong.