Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't Be Afraid To Own It!

Now that I've had writing insecurities on my mind for the past couple of posts here at Scribble Chicks, the proverbial floodgates have flung wide open, and I've been thinking about things I haven't thought about in months, and in some cases, years and years...

Like that time a guy in my 4th grade creative writing class called me a "freak" (in front of my big crush, no less) after I bravely volunteered to read my story out loud.

Or when I first discovered alliteration in junior high and my English teacher wasn't nearly as impressed with my discovery as I was. She even dared to give me a "B+" on my profoundly poetic paper that I was sure was worth an A++++.

Or much later in my writing adventures when a book critic only gave me three stars because she was "confused" and "distracted" by my switching POVs in my debut novel. Hey, if it's good enough for Jodi Picoult...oh forget it.

Not long after that revelation, I suddenly remembered another shot to my frail writer's psyche when my hubby introduced me to Dave Eggers' Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. While I enjoyed each and every insight into Eggers' very bizarre mind, I was a little depressed and utterly deflated after finishing because there was no way I could ever conceive of something so unique, clever and creative.

So why even bother writing, right? Well, that's what I thought for about a week anyway. If I wasn't on Eggers' level, it didn't seem worth the trouble.

But the truth is there will always be someone who won't get what we do—or where we're coming from as a writer. And without a doubt, some of those people will just happen to be book critics. Furthermore, there will always be writers who deliver the goods with more panache, more style, more grace—and they'll instantly be christened Oprah's latest book club selection, top the New York Times' bestseller list and possibly even win a Pulitzer.

But after you've got all the self-doubt and complaining and crying (yes, I've shed tears over these trivial matters) out of your system, it's important (and best) to re-focus on the task at hand: writing. After all, you wouldn't get so worked up about it if you didn't love it so much, right?

So don't be afraid to own your writing style, whatever it is. Sure, we can all work on the mechanics, hone our style and edit it to perfection, but the way you say something, that's all you, and it's worth celebrating whether you're published, unpublished, successful or unsuccessful.

Next up: Even though I wasn't even talking about love, I must get Madonna's "Express Yourself" out of my head. (How's that for random?)


  1. Good stuff! I'm guessing you mean "alliteration" instead of "illiteration." That confused me for a second. I was thinking "illiteracy" or something like that- I wasn't sure why you'd be so excited about it, haha!

  2. Turn on the Noggin channel, and listen to Dora the Explorer or The Backyardigans for awhile. That's boot out ol' Madonna!!!! hahaha. Great post, thanks for sharing and being so honest! =) Very encouraging.

  3. LOL...just making sure you're paying attention, lightofhis. Ha ha. :) And I will definitely take your advice on that, sister would wholeheartedly concur with you on that front. :)

  4. Another great post today, Christa. :o)

    Interestingly enough, I'm learning each of your "voices" as well. Since your names don't appear until the end of the post, I always try to guess while I'm reading, which one of you wrote (say that ten times fast!). I guessed you correctly today, and Betsy correctly yesterday. :o)

  5. Nice job,'s fun to have such distinct voices here (and that you're picking up on them...even cooler).

  6. What a great reminder, Christa! I'm tempted not to read ANY reviews of my work. But I'm sure I won't be able to resist... LOL

    Well, it's good to know I'm not the only one who gets Madonna songs stuck in my head on occasion!

  7. Yeah, it happens to the best of us. And believe me, you can't help reading your own reviews. The good ones will really send you over the a good way!