Alastair and I did a presentation this past Saturday at the Ohio Valley RWA Chapter (thanks again for having us, guys!) and it was a blast. We talked about Writing Men (For Women) and it was loads of fun. (We’ll have the lecture up for download someday soon!) While we were frantically putting the thing together, Alastair asked me if I was going to do my “I’m a Great Writer,” thing at the end, and I, without thinking, said yes. I do it at the end of every presentation, everywhere I go, and my absolute favorite part of the experience is forcing all those writers to say it out loud. Not just out loud, but loud, and repeatedly. About four or five times, I made them all shout it, in the conference room of a very tolerant library, saying it louder every time.
And the same thing happened that happens every time I do this.
The first time I make them say it, they’re hesitant and quiet. Then I make them say it again, louder.
I’m a great writer.
It’s a little better, and I let it go from there. I continue on, telling them that my awesome takes nothing away from their awesome, and that if you don’t believe in yourself, then you’re wasting your reader’s time and money. And then I make them say it again.
I’m a great writer!
I don’t tell them to get louder on that one, but they always do, on their own. Eyes start to shine. Shoulders lean forward. I tell them that people are going to line up ten deep to tell us we’re not good enough and we don’t need to do their work for them.
I’m a GREAT writer!!
And then I tell them that they’re not just cheating themselves, but their readers, if they’re not owning their awesome, because you can’t use your awesome if you don’t own it. Your work gets better when you believe in yourself. It’s not to say that you’re perfect, that you can’t improve, that there aren’t glorious miles of crunchy, ever-improving narrative to walk. It’s just saying that while you’re walking them, you’re walking them to the best of your abilities, and damnit, that matters.
I’M A GREAT WRITER!!!!
If you’re a writer (and really, why would you be here if you weren’t) then you need to do this today, and every day. The best thing you have to offer your reader is you, your magic, that quintessential spark that only you can give them, that makes your book a book only you could write. Own your awesome, the way those women at the chapter meeting did this week.
When you do, another writer gets her wings.