Category Archives: humility

Why are Writers Self-Deprecatory?

That’s my question for today.  It’s a question that’s been bugging me for a while.  Writers seems to lack confidence in their very natures.  They wear masks of humility to spare themselves criticism and pain.  Occasionally, an arrogant writer surfaces from the depths of the blogging circles, but the arrogance seems only another mask meant to cover a defensive and self-protective nature.

Where are the confident among us?  Why must writers live this way?  Why can’t we boldly step up to our laptops and say, “I’m going to break the rules.  I’m going to write the story of my heart.  And I’m going to do it because I know I can.  Damn those negative thoughts that tell me I can’t!”

I wonder if my writing would improve if I were to take on this air of confidence–if it would bring zest and life to every story.  I wonder if writer’s block is simply another form of self-deprecating nonsense, in which I tell myself all the reasons why I can’t, instead of why I can.

Humility is a virtue.  I get that.  But, for heaven’s sake, I’m tired of reading the humble entreaties on writers’ blogs– including my own.  I’m tired of living in my self-deprecating mind, cursing myself and my own work.  Just to clarify, confidence is not the same thing as pride.  Pride says, “I don’t need improvement, so don’t even bother to criticize me.”  Confidence says, “My work needs improvement, but it’s better than it once was and, by gum, I know I’m capable of bringing it to that final level!”

I want this to be my year of confidence.  What about you?

p.s. In case you can’t tell, the image above is supposed to be of Sor Juana’s hand.  She was one of the greatest writers and poets of Mexico, and yet she renounced her writing and books, and signed this renouncement in blood with the words yo, la peor de todas!  Translated, that means, I, the worst of all!

p.p.s Sor Juana was forced by the Inquisition.  The only Inquisition forcing us into self-flagellation is ourselves.

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