Be Your Own Cheerleader

Monday, August 03, 2020

It's pretty common to hear a writer say that they are their own worst critic. I can completely understand that sentiment. It's hard to write, read, and critique our own writing without developing a level of judgment and cynicism of our own work. Especially when we don't think we're at our best.

Lately, I have been particularly stressed and it's made me put writing to the side a little bit. As I look at my submission spreadsheet, I realized that I rarely submitted my work this summer. Not to mention, it's gotten to be a habit to delete emails notifying of me of the latest competitions I can enter. 

But after a very difficult week last week, I coached myself into reading some of those emails rather than deleting them. I even found a few contests to enter, despite a gnawing feeling that my work wasn't ready yet. 

In times like these, I think we all need to be our own cheerleaders. We need to coach ourselves forward and nudge ourselves to keep trying. Avoid looking at your writing too harshly. Now more than ever, I think kindness, grace, and care needs to be taken with others as well as within ourselves. 

Today, I encourage you to be your own cheerleader. Try your best. Try to write a little bit today. Encourage yourself to submit something that's been collecting digital dust for weeks. Best of all, try to encourage a fellow writer. I think as we encourage each other, we tend to take that encouragement seriously within our own hearts. 

If you are in the revising process, try not to read your work with a harsh, critical eye. Instead, see your writing as a piece of pottery you are still trying to form into a vase. If you get rejected, instead of thinking your writing wasn't good enough, consider that maybe it wasn't a good fit for them instead. 

Now that we have jumped the hurdle of the mid-year mark, I think most - if not all - of us are shocked this year has gone the way it did. So, let's cheer each other on and keep going, one step at a time.

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. In the midst of writing short stories, she's also working on her unemployment blog, Say hi to her on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--As crazy as the world is today--in so many ways--we DO need to be our own cheerleader. We need to shake our pompoms for our writing colleagues and cheer them on. We need to realize we're making new "normals."

Your post was a great reminder. I will have to jump up and down this evening as I shout, "I can do it, yes I can! If I can't do it, nobody can!" as I work on some more queries... (No back flips or cartwheels. I don't want to start an earthquake, nor do I want to break a multitude of bones. ;)

Renee Roberson said...

I understand how easy it is to get in a slump. I've only entered one contest this year and know not to get my hopes up. But you've been doing a lot of freelancing and while it pays the bills, it can drain our creativity. You've done some amazing work on your blog--pat yourself on the back for all you HAVE done in the first half of the year!

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - Yes! I encourage you to do as much jumping and cheers for yourself as you can. I'm with you on the cartwheels thing. Apparently that isn't like riding a bike. LOL.

@Renee - Thank you Renee! I often forget that I've taken strides with freelance writing and my blog. I need to take those into account for this year :)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Yes, Nicole, as writers we need to be our most loudest and most fervent cheerleader. Your article has helped me remember that.

Nicole Pyles said...

Thank you Jeanine!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I spent year after year when my kids were little, cheering them on because they were so good at beating themselves up. It took me a lot of years to give myself that same cheer up instead of criticism. Thank you, Nicole, for the reminder! (Again!)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Cathy -Sometimes it can be so much easier to cheer others on than it is ourselves!

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