Sunday, September 3, 2023

If you can write, then you can be a writer. Why this is anything but true?

Truth. What is it? Is it in the eyes of the beholder? Is it nonnegotiable? Does it have relevance? All significant questions when attempting to understand who you are as a writer. However, some might see these questions and take them to their literal meaning. Which can lead to a significant loss of self-esteem. Is it necessarily a positive thing to be so open and honest about your goals? Yes, it is if you want to reach said goals.

This was my dilemma in early 2015 when, after several months of my book stagnating at an insanely inferior position on sales list, I moved forward by not being consumed by bitter disappointment. I had made myself believe that as soon as my book hit the digital shelf, it would become the next bestseller. I had to work hard at getting out from under the shame of not achieving that goal.

Looking back now, it feels like so long ago and silly, but then I found myself near catatonic with writer’s block. It took all my will to put words to paper. I tell you all of this in service to the truth. Because if you find yourself in a similar situation, you must be truthful with yourself in order to overcome the feelings of self-doubt. Instead of the bad, you will need to focus on all the good that has brought you to this place. “Being able to focus, even though you are stressed, and get the job done gives you the knowledge that, no matter what happens, you can avoid internal musings and excuses. Doing what needs to be done, regardless of temporary setbacks, will make you proud of yourself. It also produces a secondary positive outcome, which is a greater ability to focus on the problem that caused the upset, because you won’t be thinking of what you haven’t gotten done.” (Goldsmith, 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series))

Back then, I used one book that helped me crawl out of the morass: 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence, by Barton Goldsmith, PhD. In his 2010 book, Mr. Goldsmith details many ways to recognize and overcome a lack of self-confidence. Each chapter building upon the last to ensure confidence necessary to achieve your goals. He discusses everything from how negativity kills confidence (Ch. 2) to just having a faithful pup curled at your feet while you work will boost your spirits and help maintain your focus (Ch. 98). As the title suggests, there are one hundred chapters to this book, though don’t let that ward you off. It is a quick read.

However, the first and the last chapters that have helped me the most. Both chapters offer a list that you can reference to help keep you on track and keep your spirits up. The first chapter lists of ten ways to get motivated for the day. Although, it is the list of ten in chapter one hundred that were, and still are, the most inspirational for me:

1.      Realize that self-confidence is easy to gain. But if you don’t have enough, it can make succeeding in life hard. All you need is desire and persistence.

2.      Do something for someone else. Helping others lets you know you are a good person and that you can use what you know positively.

3.      Knowing that you are a person of honor and integrity keeps you on a purposeful and positive path. Find the confidence within.

4.      Act “as if.” Acting as though life is already going your way allows you to physically and emotionally feel success.

5.      Find a mentor.

6.      Take care of yourself. Stay healthy, exercise, keep your energy high, and reward yourself appropriately for your achievements. It is for your psyche and your body. Get up and get moving.

7.      Experience. Having been there (and gotten the T-shirt) lets you know you can go there again and again. Even if it has been years, most things in life are like riding a bike.

8.      Keep a confidence journal. Just write five things you feel confident about on a daily basis.

9.      Build a support structure.

10.  Monitor your thinking. Think positive thoughts.

List from 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence. (Goldsmith, 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series))

With this list, I motivate and remind myself to ensure that, first-and-foremost I am a writer. Also, I aspire to be a writer of substance and acceptance. So, if you can write, you are a writer, if that is how you define yourself. No one can tell you otherwise, because it is only your opinion that counts.


[This is the end of part 2. Part 3 in the ongoing series will be available next week.]

Works Cited

Goldsmith, Barton. “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series).” Barton Goldsmith, PhD. 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series). Red Wheel Weiser, 2010. 18-19. Kindle Edition.

Goldsmith, Barton. “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series).” Goldsmith, Barton. 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (100 Ways Series). Red Wheel Weiser, 2010. 217-219. Kindle Edition.

Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. “One in Ten (Organization).”. 24 Apr. 2020 April 2020. 20 August 2023.

Womack, Ytasha. “Afrofuturism.” Womack, Ytasha. Afrofuturism. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. Kindle Edition., 2013. pp. 11-12.


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