Do you ever tell people about your writing? I hope so. You’ll have a hard time building an audience if you don’t. Even more important, do you tell people about your work in a way that slights or insults yourself? “Oh, it’s just a hobby of mine.” “I’m not very good at it.” “It’s a little poem/song/story I wrote. Really bad, isn’t it?” If any of these phrases sound familiar, you’re a victim of the evil dragon Self-Minimization.
I often hear other writers minimize themselves. Sometimes men, but more often women. Our culture has this thing where we teach men to stand up and speak for themselves while women are taught to sit down and be quiet. But, as writers, we simply can’t afford to sit quietly.
Naturally, we all have moments of doubt. The competition is intense and rejection hurts. Minimizing ourselves can be a way of deflecting pain. It can also be a chain that holds us back. If your spouse said to you, “Why are you wasting your time with this?” you’d be pretty upset. You’d probably defend yourself. But when it’s your own voice saying, “You’ll never sell anything,” self-defense is that much harder.
Yet, it’s because the competition is so intense that we must slay this dragon. No one ever sold a story without submitting it first. Self-minimizing can be as much a habit as a reaction to stress. Begin to train your brain for the battle. “Yes, I’ve been writing for ten years.” “I’m getting pretty good at this.” “It’s a poem/song/story I wrote. Isn’t it great?”
Funny thing is, most people will take you at your word. If you say you’re a poet or author, they’ll believe you. Once you fight off that self-minimizing dragon, you’ll see how high you can fly.