Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inspirational Phrases You *Shouldn't* Say to Authors

Are you a writer? Of course you are! That's why you're reading this blog (or stalking it..waiting for it to explode or die...)! Recently I was reading a post written by another writer when these words were typed in big bold print in the middle of her blog:

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. 

Seriously? I can barely believe that in Japan they've made voice boxes that translate your dog's barks into words. Believing in yourself is incredibly hard as any kind of artist, but especially as a writer. We believe in ourselves enough to get going, but not always enough to follow through. We fall out half way because often times we don't always have a good emotional support group. Or sometimes you have a good emotional support group. Family and friends who believe in you and your talent when you don't.

But they fall into a terrible pattern of repeating 'inspirational phrases' to you that do nothing but make you frustrated, because they're not getting the torture I'm  you're going through. I'm a normally positive person (except when I  talk to myself about how I'm ever going to make it in this pizza-eat-pizza world of writing), but when I get told clearly tried and true 'phrases' that have nothing to do with my situation even from well meaning friends I get kinda...testy.  Ones like these:

"You'll never know if you don't try!"

"Believe in yourself!"

"I'm sure you'll be fine!"

"It can't be that bad!"

You know what I'd rather do than hear these phrases again? I'd rather be slapped with a fish. I'd rather slide down a banister of slime and fall in a pit of hungry fire rats. I'd rather sit in a room with Kim Kardashian and listen to her talk about her newest clothes. And you know why? Because hearing those makes you feel worse.

You feel like you're not doing good enough, or trying hard enough. Or sometimes, it just makes you feel alone in how you're feeling. So instead of saying those phrases to your woe-begotten writer friend who says they'll never make it in this world--that there are too many good writers to compete with, or they're book is awful and no one will ever buy it--use these instead! Text them to your writer friend, or put it on a post-it-note and put it on their door or computer! Or forehead!

"The one ironclad rule is that I have to try. I have to walk into my writing room and pick up my pen every weekday morning."
(Anne Tyler)

"Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere" (Anne Lamott)
"Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose…not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember."
(Anne Sullivan Mac)

"It's okay to fail. It's okay to scream and throw books and be mad at yourself for writing something that didn't come out how you wanted. But when you're done, and give yourself however long that takes, finish it."
  (Katie Masters)

And writers! I know how hard it is to believe you can do this. BELIEVE me I know. I struggle every day whenever I read an amazing story (or even a bad one that miraculously go picked up!) and compare it to my own. I shouldn't but  I do. I can't help it! I have an ego the size of the tip of a wickedly sharpened pencil. I'm hoping someday it'll become at least pea sized! We can hope! But don't be me. Try to be kind to yourself!

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