I can’t count how many times I have heard this quote, mostly from my mother, but I don’t think that I fully understood it until today. Have you ever had one of those days that literally everything you do seems to go wrong? That was what today was like for me. At work I was asked to do some proofreading and editing. These were two things that I felt that I was good at. Writing has always been a skill that I prided myself on. After proofreading a document about a half-a-dozen times (finding new errors each time), I finally approved it. But an error still managed to sneak through. I wanted to pull my hair out. To make matters worse, a webpage that I had made edits to earlier in the week was riddled with errors and my boss was less than pleased. As I rectified those mistakes, all confidence in my proofreading and editing skills seemed to drain from my body. I reread that document at least a dozen times before sending it to him for review. I missed one comma.
I felt pretty defeated about the whole thing. I touted my writing and editing ability on my resume, on my LinkedIn profile, I corrected grammar on Twitter-so who was this new girl? I began to wonder if I had lost my writing ability, or maybe I never had it to begin with. So I did what most twenty-somethings do when they are faced with a tough realization, I posted my woes on Facebook. Now I can say that I did this to vent, but in reality, I did it for validation. I wanted people to tell me that I had not lost my writing ability, that I was in fact a good writer. I needed my Facebook friends to tell me what I wouldn’t tell myself.
I recieved a lukewarm reception to my status. About five likes and two comments. The first comment was a suggestion that I try automatic writing because I was overthinking it (which was true) from a guy that I shared a creative writing class with in college. The second was from a friend who sympathized with me, saying she went through something similar. Good responses, but not what I wanted. I wanted to be told that I was a great writer and that these mistakes didn’t change that. Why didn’t I get that response?
Well that’s easy. I didn’t believe in myself so why would other people? The fact is if I say that I’m a bad writer, then why would someone argue with me? If people genuinely disagree with me, or care about me then they may argue with me but maybe they wouldn’t. If I would’ve walked into my boss’s office and said “I’m a terrible writer,” he probably would’ve looked at me like I was crazy, and then he may have believed it. People will believe you when you say something about yourself, that is why confidence is so important. If I believe I’m a bad writer, everyone else will believe it too. If I believe I’m a good writer, then so will the world. You can’t rely on other people to believe in you if you don’t. It starts with you.
I believe I am a good writer. I also believe that I am far from perfect, I will make mistakes, that makes me human.