A Writer’s Identity

I don’t like self-help. My wife does. She respects the insights that many self help books bring. Even though I don’t like self-help, I’ve found two areas where it’s needed:

1. In prison. Our Canadian prisons tear down a man’s (or woman’s) identity. The very walls, the programs, the attitude of staff, say to the men that they are less than human. This lack of identity interferes with a solid correctional program. Thus, self-help in the form of positive reinforcement is necessary.

2. With writers. We face so much rejection that we start to not believe in ourselves. We study writing for years, we read books, we take classes and then some #$%#@ at a party tells us they could write a book easily. I know a writer who mailed himself a series of postcards, one every day, containing statements such as:

· Every rejection brings me closer to success.

· My writing talent is a gift. The writing I do is my gift to the universe.

· I have nothing to fear from revealing myself in my work.

· I am always growing and my writing keeps getting better.

· I deserve good money for my writing.

· My writing is important, for me, for others.

· I’m ready for success.

· I can afford to take chances.

· My time and my money are well spent investing in my writing career.

· I become a better human being when I write something well.

· The world is a better place because I wrote this morning.

· Though all ideas have been explored, no one has exactly the same perspective as I do. I am unique. The world wants to hear my views.

· Competition is not a problem for me. I’m me, unique.

· Criticism and rejection just make me a better writer.

· I’m a really good writer.


10 responses to “A Writer’s Identity

  1. Hi, Ed,
    Love this piece. Would you mind if I shared it on my page (with all due credit and links, that is?)

    While I was not a fan of self-help, it does have many aspects that I have personally found as beneficial, if not more so, than other forms of help, especially in writing and finding your own/voice or way. I’ll talk about some of the others on my page but you’ve inspired me to think so much which, of course, will result in more writing LOL Thank you for this valuable piece and for the inspiration. Also, if you are not comfortable with me cutting/pasting and crediting you, I can just include a link in my page to the source of inspiration (which I would do, anyway:). Happy Long Weekend.

  2. I agree with Kathy. And just as inmates have a way of sniffing out insincerity, I think we must be discerning when it comes to accepting others’ guidance. Self-help is a bazillion-dollar industry; intention really is everything. Don’t quote me on that figure : )

    You’ve often expressed your dislike for self-help, yet your life’s work (as a priest, writer, teacher, an available ear sans jugement, etc.) is a self-help movement all on its own. Just saying!

    Love your writer friend’s idea BTW.

    • Ah, caught me again in my total illogicality. I guess it’s a prejudice on my part. I see the word “self-help” and I’m gone. This is prejudice, a pre-judgement without any facts.

  3. My pleasure, Ed! If you like, I can add you to my blog roll? Entirely up to you. Thank you kindly for allowing me to “borrow” your piece, I love it, just want to share because I find it so inspirational!

  4. Ed this is a great post and very important for writers to remember. Sometimes this business can knock you back enough you don’t get back up. This kind of thing makes our skin thicker.

  5. Self-help has its place. If something works for you, use it. I always wonder how the author/speaker knows more than I do (about me). Maybe my comment doesn’t make sense … I’m going on to read about plot block now. Thanks, Ed for a great blog….I’m also going to google blog roll because I don’t know what the heck that is either. Cheers, Karin

  6. Blogroll
    A list of other blogs that a blogger might recommend by providing links to them (usually in a sidebar list).

    Gotta love google.

    • I checked with my computer expert, Caszie, and she tells me that a blog roll is a fancy word for a link. Aurora asked me if she could add me to her blog roll. I should have said “YES.”

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