I was a member of a group for a while. Two members of this group were really smart. They had the pieces of paper to prove it. (But I suspect, even with their degrees, they suffered from low self-esteem.) I made the mistake of telling them that I was hoping to become an author. I could see and hear them judging me. They openly made fun of the way I spoke. I'd hoped that this type of bullying would end when I become an adult, but sadly it didn't--at least not in that group. And, although they didn't come right out and say it to my face, I knew they thought I was diluting myself with my dreams of becoming an author.
If something similar is happening to you or someone you love IT NEEDS TO STOP!
Here's what helped me...
-Realize that the power is yours to give. If you are around people who don't support or respect or empower you, end the relationship. Or, if ending the relationship isn't possible, minimize your time around these people.
-Realize that you can play the victim or the hero in your life. If you want to be the hero, act like it; see yourself as one. Believe in your abilities. Believe in your dreams. Don't ask for validation from an outside source. Draw from the strength within you.
To be honest, I had strong doubts that I could fulfill my dream. If I hadn't, I would have been able to ignore the bullying. My biggest concern was that in order to be an author I had to sound like I was smart. My biggest fear was that I didn't sound that way. My biggest fear was that I wasn't smart enough.
But, with restored believe in myself, I sought out those who would support my dream. I found them in my community and I found them in books.
I bought and listened to the audio book version of Stephen King's On Writing. And he said,
'Put your vocabulary on the top shelf of your toolbox, and don't make any conscious effort to improve it. (You'll be doing that as you read, of course...but that comes later.) One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed. Make yourself a solemn promise right now that you'll never use 'emolument' when you mean 'tip'... Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word--of course you will, there's always another word--but it probably won't be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean.'That's what he said. And what I heard him say was that I was good enough. Me. I. And so are you. Don't let anyone stand between you and your dream.
Kristen Lamb wrote an interesting article on self motivation. Here's the link.
Next Monday: Book review: When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Sharing my author journey...
On Monday, August 24th, Louise Penny (mystery author) was The Vancouver Writers Fest featured author.