Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pride + Humility = A Cocktail of Awesome

I was inspired to write this article by one of my readers, who wrote:
Do you ever get self-conscious when you read your work to others? I certainly do. I can't even be in the same room if someone is reading my stuff. I know lots of writers feel the same way, so the question is how to deal with it. Any thoughts?
I love it when readers ask me questions because it helps me to know what they would like me to write about.
Oh dear, I found a typo.
We know to cure pride with humility. The key to solving insecurity is also humility, just a different kind. Some of us won’t stop until our work is perfect, but it never will be, because we aren't perfect people. Thinking we ever can be is a form of pride. If we can accept that we can’t be perfect, it’s easier to admit flaws (even to other people).

Writers take themselves too seriously. A mistake often brings them great shame. Instead of being embarrassed, laugh it off. If you can laugh it off, it means you know better now and you can be proud of your growth.

I think it's easier to tone down excessive confidence than it is to build up self-esteem, so feel free to overcompensate. You can practice saying this mantra: "I am so awesome. I am so awesome." It helps. Really.

Let’s play a game: I am going to share a flaw of mine that makes me laugh, and you brave souls can share one of yours.

I’ve noticed I say things twice for extra emphasis, as if readers won’t get it the first time. For example, I might say, “She was scared and terrified.” Those are synonyms, dummy.

Your turn.


  1. I'm a habitual over-user of adverbs. And I've learned recently that adverbs are a symptom of telling, not showing. I guess I subconsciously assume my reader can see everything in their his or her mind exactly as I do. Baaaaaaad idea!

  2. I am a queen of well-meaning run-on sentences in my academic writing. Sometimes, you don't need a three-line sentence to say something that could be succinctly stated in one. But I have the hardest time writing this way the first time - I always have to go back and change up my sentence length.

  3. I have no doubt that I WOULD get self-conscious. I just have never read my work to anyone before ;)


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