I'm Bold. I'm Brilliant. I'm Beautiful.

Thursday, December 07, 2017
           This past Sunday I was watching CBS Sunday Morning. A segment on Turkish baklava made me salivate (I'm determined to have some baklava if I go back to Istanbul). A story about a previously-unknown sailor (he saved 6 soldiers from the burning USS Arizona) inspired me. But it was a piece about a 2017 Sports Illustrated model (Ashley Graham) that made me think about what I do as a writer.

           Let me give you the gist. Ashley Graham is successful model. She's a size 14. Some sadists call her "plus size." Fashion people told her, "You'll never be a model," "You're too fat for the clothes," and "You'll never be on a magazine cover."

           They were wrong. They were so, so wrong.

           Instead of listening to the denigrating remarks and sabotaging herself, Ashley either got naked or in her granny panties and her bra, looked in the mirror and told herself three things:

You're bold.
You're brilliant.
You're beautiful.

          It made me think about the self-sabotage we do to ourselves as writers. What if we sent ourselves an affirming message every day? What if we silenced the negative comments we fill our own heads with? What if we stopped fixating on the criticism we get during feedback?

          What if? 

         Don't get me wrong. I love getting constructive feedback. Recently, I sent my NaNoWriMo from 2015 (a steaming turdpile) to a poet and blogging friend, Shay Simmons. She told me what every other writer friend had told me: One story line is interesting. The other one? Not so much... (which translates into "You can smell this manuscript from a thousand miles away... and it ain't a good aroma, neither.")

         However, after I licked my wounds and ate lots of milk chocolate and mashed potatoes (not together, of course) refocused, I set that project aside to gather dust forever: you're welcome, world to perhaps someday reexamine it... and then I moved forward on a different WIP.

         Not getting a response from the markets I usually submit to means bad news. Chicken Soup for the Soul and Sasee only respond when they're interested in publishing something, so when months have passed and I've gotten no email, I momentarily start the self-doubt train. Maybe I should stop submitting to them altogether? Why waste my time sending pieces to them? What was I even thinking, sending them a submission? After all, they don't like my stuff anymore.

       What if I looked at myself in a mirror and told myself things that would help (not hinder) me? What if I filled my head with messages like:

I am a talented writer.
I am working on something that has loads of potential.
I can and do craft clever phrases.
I embrace revision and remember it is a process... Sometimes the product is a long time coming.
I write on a regular basis. If I miss a day here or there, I refuse to beat myself up over it.
I make readers laugh/cry/reflect.

         What if you looked in the mirror and built yourself up through self-affirming messages... What would you say?

         Sometimes-Self-Doubting minds want to know.

Sioux Roslawski is a self-doubter (sometimes) but a hopeful writer (most of the time). She teaches middle-schoolers full time and in her spare time dreams of someday having a book published. If you're curious about learning more about Sioux (are you really that brave?) you can check out her blog.


Crystal Otto said...

Thank you! This is incredibly spot on!

Joanne said...

Loved this, on many levels: body image (who doesn't identify?), and of course believing in ourselves as writers. Thank you!

Marcia Peterson said...

Love this! Thanks for giving us this post.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I like to remind myself that it's not a race, this writing I do.

But I also like to remind myself that slow and steady wins the race. I'm a very conflicted writer, Sioux. :-)

Margo Dill said...

I think there have been countless studies done on negative self-talk and how harming it is and on visualizing yourself having success and how that works. So this totally makes sense. And we all need to be reminded of it constantly!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Seriously? Do you read my mind? "Maybe I'm not a real writer. After all, my editor hated this and that and I have to write a whole new chapter..." Blah Blah Blah

This was just what the doctor ordered! You're a peach.

Angela Mackintosh said...

This ROCKS, Sioux!! I love the story about Ashley, and it's exactly how we should feel about our writing. If people say we can't, we should say we can and will. Thank you for this today! I'm going to print out some affirmations and stick them on my wall. :)

Val said...

What affirmations could I make in the mirror?

"I am not afraid to write about my buffoonery."

"Somewhere in my writing is a bemused half-smile, just waiting to be discovered."

"I am brave enough to learn more about Sioux."

Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--You're welcome.

J. Glen--Yes, I think everybody could use a shot of self-confidence once in a while...

MP--Thank YOU.

Cathy--I too am conflicted. ;)

Margo--The mind is a powerful thing. Constant reminders might make a difference...

Sue--Right back at ya!

Angela--Maybe you could write a post soon about how your affirmations made a difference?

Val--I don't think you can handle the truth.

Mary Horner said...

Oh Sioux, you put into words the doubts and issues I struggle with on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing, it made my day and helps me realize we are not alone.

Renee Roberson said...

I am so bad about negative self-talk, in all areas of my life, including writing. Thank you for this nice kick in the pants I needed.

Linda O'Connell said...

Sioux, this post resonated with me on so many levels. Although I am multi published, I still feel self doubt by the end of the year. When the New year arrives, I am energized and write like crazy in January. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

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