Women, Writing and Self-Promoting

BlogHer Original Post

Earlier this week, Elisa announced the 2010 BlogHer Voices of the Year. It was something that I’d eagerly been anticipating since I nominated myself right before the April deadline. Yep. I nominated myself. At first, I was nervous about it. I thought about asking a friend to nominate me, but then I thought, why shouldn’t I nominate myself? What’s wrong with saying in public that this is something I wrote and I’m really proud of it?

Pens that U.S. President Barack Obama' will use to sign the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act are seen before the signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on May 5, 2010. The bill will improve health care services for veterans and expand caregiver benefits and training. UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via Newscom

That was, in fact, the original instructions:

All nominations are public. You can find the entries listed here. Anyone in the community can nominate a blogger. Or two. Or three. ☺ Yes, you may nominate yourself! Nominations are open now; you have until April 15th to nominate blog posts and designs.

However, it turned out that a large number of us are not comfortable with publicly nominating our own work. To encourage people to share, BlogHer allowed women to submit their posts anonymously and moved the submission deadline back. That’s great. It is important to encourage women to get their work out there. On the other hand, it’s a problem that women don’t want to stand up at the top of a figurative mountain and shout down to the metaphorical villagers that they think that their writing is awesome and they want everyone to know, as if it is embarrassing to say that you think your own writing is some of the best out there!

Earlier this year, there was an uproar when Publishers Weekly announced its Top 10 books of 2009 and there were no women on it. But in a way, the debacle makes more sense to me now. If we don't speak up for ourselves, other people may not hear about our work to jump on the bandwagon and help us promote it. We have to be vocal supporters of our own writing, pushing our publishers to enter our work into contests, seeking out new audiences and promoting the products of our blood, sweat, and tears. No wonder we don't get on top whatever lists for literature -- much of those are generated by people constantly promoting themselves as the best, worth prizes, etc.

This is hard for many women, myself included. But we are not out there alone. I love that She Writes is as much about promoting work as it is about generating good work. BlogHer has an excellent series on writing and promoting your work, too. Recently, Laurie White explored entering writing contests, and Melissa Ford posted part 7 out of a ten post series on How to Get Published. All of these things involve being your own advocate. We can do this!

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and is the author of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track.

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