Writers: Don't Set Your Self-Worth By a Publisher's Opinion

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On Saturday, my daughter auditioned for a local teen acting troupe. Before the auditions began the director talked with the students about what they could expect from the audition, when they would find out who made it and other bits of general information. But she ended with something that resonated with me and relates 100% to writers.

She explained that there were only a few openings in the troupe, so not everyone was going to make it. Then, with heartfelt conviction, she told those teens, "Don't ever base your self-worth as an actor on one audition. Do not give that power over to any director. It hasn't been earned, and they don't deserve it."

When I left, I couldn't stop thinking about what she said. So many times as writers we wrap up our self-worth in every query letter or proposal we send out. Then we wait for the response and rather than just look at it as just that, a response, we use it to gauge our worth and abilities as a writer. If an editor/agent says yes, then we must be a good writer. If we get a no, then we must not be any good.

That is too much power to hand over to editors/agents and frankly, I don't think they want it. The agents and editors are just doing their job, to make the best magazine, book or anthology possible. It is up to us to be confident in our own abilities as a writer.

We have all heard those rejection letter examples from authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss saying their writing wasn't any good. But what made these writers successful is that they didn't let an editor's opinion stop them. They were confident in their writing and they kept going. We all need to do the same.

Surround yourself with other positive writers, take classes, go to conferences, join a good critique group, and improve your craft so when you do send out your writing, you can rest assured that you sent out your best work and regardless of the response back, you know that you are a good writer.

What do you think? Do we hand over our self-worth as writers to too many other people?


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