Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Looking Good & Writing Well

To my male followers - this one is kind of a girl-centric post, which won't happen often.  I'm a meat-and-potatoes kind of chick, but this bears relating.  So bear with me for a moment of pink saturation :).

Ladies: We talked before a little bit about self-esteem as writers and as people.  In the earlier post I talked about how we manage our households and juggle our time. Today, I've got a relevant Glimpse-Into-BBCLand (oh, it's a fascinating place) that I think will resonate with my readers.

I've got a friend & co-worker who is the blunt type, the one that calls you out on your shit - and really, we all need at least one of those to keep us honest.  She's also my Mary Kay lady.  So when she brought me down some new makeup the other day and showed me how to use it (BBC freely admits her ineffectual makeup use) a conversation went thus:

BBC: Yeah I know I haven't been doing my face a lot lately for work.

Friend: Or your hair.

BBC: Right, I know.  I really need some new clothes, but don't have the extra cash to buy some.  So when I wake up in the morning I look in my closet and think, all these clothes look dumpy, so why bother doing my face and my hair when my clothes look like this?  Then I bought some new clothes, but when I put them on they looked bad cause I gained some weight, which made me feel crappy, so when I woke up the next day I felt even crappier, and thought why do my hair and my face if my body looks bad?  Internal thought: Wow.  I didn't know all that was in there.  I just totally dumped on Friend.

Friend: *cocks her head and looks at me like I'm stupid* You know that's a completely self destructive thought cycle, right?

And for whatever reason - this happened :



So sometimes we need that friend who says - "Guess what?  You're totally screwing yourself right now."

And I think this applies in our writing too.  We get down on ourselves.  We re-read last night's work and say, "That is horrible, that is crap, why did I ever think I could be a writer?" And we stop trying.  We read a best seller and think, "This is incredible, this is what it takes to be a writer, I cannot do that."

And isn't that kind of thinking tantamount to comparing ourselves to the models on the magazine covers, or actresses with free time to go the gym everyday and the money to go the salon before they go out?  These writers (some of them) have been doing this for years; their skills are honed, they've had professional feedback from other writers and editors.  Some of them have the ability to make a living off their writing, instead of in those stolen moments.

This same Friend said to me one time, "You know, you could be a 10 but you treat yourself like 5."  So tell yourself today when you sit in front of that laptop / notebook / desktop / blank piece of paper - I'm a 10 dammit!  And I'm going to write like one!

A little something to look forward to: tomorrow we've got an extra special Freestyle, Freewheelin' SAT in which myself and an equally cheeky YA author let our personalities run rampant.  Oh, there will be giggles.

14 comments:

Justin Holley said...

Hey Mindy, don't think for a minute that your post doesn't relate to us guys too. Maybe not so much how we look in the mirror, well, sometimes that too, but for sure on the writing front. Self-esteem is fleeting. I can reread something I wrote one day and think it's great--the next it looks nothing like a big steamin' pile. Just the way it is...but we struggle through it and press on :)

Calista Taylor said...

Excellent post, BBC!! I'm so guilty of doing that with my writing. I always feel like I'm good, just not quite good enough. But I figure I love writing, and if I keep plugging away, my writing can only get better. I hope! ; )

Eliza Faith said...

So true.I know I tend to think like that.

Bethany C. said...

I don't like people calling me out on my sh*t--it's like looking in a mirror the morning after. Instead, I choose to be friends with really unattractive people who have no interest in writing or anything creative--then I always feel good about myself.

(Enter dramatic eye roll...now)

I have found that when I'm taking good care of myself i.e., working out, eating well, etc.--I think clearer, write better and am flooded with more ideas than I know what to do with. Sometimes it is really tough to snap yourself out of those ho-hums, but every now and then a good smack in the face by a friend is exactly what we need!

Great post, Doll!

cherie said...

Ha! So I showered this morning, but only because I have someone coming to clean my house (I know, I know. I'm cheating).

Great post and very timely. I'd been going down the self-pity drain. Will crawl back up today. :)

Lori M. Lee said...

I totally understand =P (and *hugs* about the first half of this entry) But I only let that destructive line of thought have its moment for a short time, and then I place a landmine under it and blow it up.

My inspiration almost always comes from reading other writers. BETTER writers. I read their work and I think 'this is so good, it's amazing, I AM GOING TO WRITE LIKE THIS, DANGIT' and then I am fueled up to write.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Justin - absolutely! I know men have a whole 'nother bit of societal pressures on them, and yeah, the mirror plays into it too. Thanks for sticking with the estrogen-centric part of the post to get to the relevance to writing :)

Cali- your writing rocks! And I'm in a position to say so - you've earned the "I'm a 10" pep talk in front of the laptop.

Eliza - break out of the bads! Let my outspoken friend (who I am grateful to) speak to you as well!

Bethany - you are so right about working out, eating well, and generally taking better care of our bodies having a positive relation to our other endeavors. Here's to trying harder!

Cherie - good job on the shower! Hygiene points to you :)

Lori - blow up that negativism! That really made me snicker. And yes, depending on the mindset, reading an excellent writer can be an inspiration.

EEV said...

Great post! I needed to hear it... I guess today you were my blunt friend... Thanks!
- EEV

Jen Daiker said...

Loved this. I really needed this talking today. I'm a 10 dammit and I need to start acting like it!!! My work IS good enough as am I.

Phew... it was nice to have a friend tell me what I needed. I'm with EEV, today you were my blunt friend.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Oh ladies, you can count on me for it!

Marin said...

Amen, Mindy, amen. This was a very good post for me, especially today, when I'm feeling particularly stupid. Now I can say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" :)

Gennifer Albin said...

I think I'm going to make 10 my new background on the computer, and start treating myself like I am one! Thanks, Mindy.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Marin - I know, I know! Does it reveal our age when we're constantly quoting Stuart Smalley or Jack Handey? Even if it does that's .....OK!

Gen - (can I call you Gen?) Make it a 12, and then if you're feeling kind of low you can say, you know what, I'm just gonna 10 it today. :)

Riley Redgate said...

This is rawksome. On both fronts :)