Daily Affirmations for Writers (and a Shout Out to Stuart Smalley)

June 14, 2011

Yesterday, Elley made a twitter post that made me laugh and that I could totally relate to. She said, “Some days I think I’m a good writer. Most days I think I suck. Today is like most days.”

My response to that was, “Look in the mirror and remind yourself you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gone it, people like you.”

If you’re a Saturday Night Live fan, you may recognize Stuart Smalley’s daily affirmation skit—one of my favorite, although I think The Church Lady is still my very favorite SNL character.

Anyway, a little while later I was in the back seat of a friend’s car for a girl’s night out.  One of my friends asked about my book. I’m nearly finished with my manuscript, and I haven’t really shared much of my story until this week. They all know that I’ve pretty much become a vampire, holed up in my room writing during the day light only to be seen after dark when I put my pen away. (I’m probably the palest southern California beach girl around here right now.)

So back to my story…I’m in the back seat of the car. (They always make me sit in the backseat. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m short or a terrible passenger—I really am a terrible passenger.) I start telling them that as I get nearer to the end, I’m having terrible anxiety. What if my book isn’t good enough? What if I can’t really write? What if I do all of this work and it’s just a piece of trash? Okay a very large stack of trash?

My friends are laughing at me…as good friends should. “Tari, you’re a great writer. Tari don’t worry you can do this. Tari, we need to get some wine in you!” See, good friends right? Then Nancy says something along the lines of, ‘Stop the negative self-talk. You are what you tell yourself you are,” and I had to laugh. That was pretty much what I’d just told Elley.

“Look in the mirror and remind yourself ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog gone it, people like me.’”

Apparently, I can dish out the advice, but I don’t take it. The truth is as writers, especially fiction writers, we are very isolated. We don’t always get regular paychecks to tell us we have value, no employee of the month awards. Our family and friends will tell us how great we are but what the heck do they know? I mean come on, my guys aren’t going to tell me I suck at writing…they want dinner tonight!

So maybe it’s not a bad idea to get up every morning and stand in front of the mirror and tell ourselves, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog gone it, people like me!” In fact, there are days when it might be good to repeat it again after lunch…and before bed at night.

So Elley, sorry for outing you…never mind, it was Twitter…you outed yourself. But you’re not alone. For most writers I think a crisis of confidence is a regular occurrence.

Let’s all find a mirror to stand in front of and repeat after me, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog gone it, people like me!”

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5 Responses to “Daily Affirmations for Writers (and a Shout Out to Stuart Smalley)”

  1. Ashley H Says:

    Nice post, Tari! Haven’t had a chance to look at your first chapter, but I’m sure it’s fantastic.

    I have no problem telling myself how fabulous I am throughout the day– much to the irritation of my family and friends.

  2. Tari Says:

    Well, then Ashley you might as well be one of my kids, every one of them walks around telling themselves (and anyone who listens) about their ‘awesomeness’. I may have taken Stuart Smalley too far when teaching them confidence!!

    As for my chapter….you are in possession of a first draft….as will become quite clear when you read the typo in the first paragraph where I replaced the ‘r’ in beer with an ‘f’….hahaha…but then Elley already knows I need an editor to follow behind me!! Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to use that red pen!!


  3. This is my favorite post of yours, Tari. I’m going to read it whenever I need a reminder.

    E

  4. Tari Says:

    Thanks Elley! I’ll just read your comment when I need a boost…

  5. Colette Segle Says:

    You are an amazing woman!! Thanks for the uplift!! It’s a great reminder!
    Sounds like you are doing great things- no surprise!!
    FYI- A year after we got to AZ, Shaun was deployed for a year and came home and decided to do the Army full-time, so we landed in GA for a year, which is almost up, then who knows where from here. Looks like my nomadic life has resumed! Life is always and adventure!!

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