I’m really into Podcasts lately. They’re kind of my new thing.
I’ve been listening to This American Life or NPR on my way to work in the mornings, and it has completely revolutionized my entire subway experience. Sure, I look a little crazy laughing to myself in the middle of a jam-packed train, but I try not to let the awkward stares get me down.
Anyway, in my quest to expand my Podcast horizons, I recently stumbled across one called “I Should Be Writing” for wannabe fiction writers. It’s hosted by writer Mur Lafferty, and every week focuses on a different topic relating to writing. A lot of them don’t apply to me, since I’m really more of a corporate droid than an aspiring novelist, but the topic she spoke about the other day was one I could definitely relate to: Self-esteem… or lack thereof.
During the podcast, Lafferty remarked that she never checks her stats or followers online, because she has low self-esteem and that noise would drive her completely batsh*t cray-cray. She’d end up obsessively checking how many people subscribed to each podcast and overanalyzing every lost twitter follower.
At the same time, however, she acknowledged that you can’t hide from criticism forever. The bigger you get, the more you’re going to be talked about- and not always in a good way.”Go and check Amazon.” she said, “Even Shakespeare has bad reviews”.
The key is not to let this completely destroy your self-esteem and paralyze you from continuing to write. You have to take in what’s constructive, tune out what’s not, and keep on writing.
Incidentally, later that day I also read the chapter in my book, The Happiness Project where author Gretchen Rubin decides to start her own blog.
She almost talked her self out of it on numerous occasions due to self-doubt and insecurity, but in the end, she promised herself she would always “Be Gretchen”. Of course, it went on to become one of the most popular blogs on the internet.
Not to be cliché, but I sort of feel like these two ladies came into my life at exactly the right moment. You may have noticed (psych, no one besides Ben noticed) my rather long blogging hiatus back in February. While I would like to say this was as a result of work stress, crazy partying, or being abducted by sex aliens named Ryan Gosling, the truth is, it wasn’t.
I was sitting on my couch, reading my books and watching Real Housewives, stroking my self-doubt like the kitten I don’t have.
I had plenty of time and opportunity to write; but for some reason, I just couldn’t.
I worried that everything I wanted to say was irrelevant, off-topic; unfunny, or uninteresting. Were people getting tired of my book reviews? Should I be posting more about my personal life? Less about personal life? More pictures of animals doing people things? (BTW, the answer to that question is always yes)
I lost count of how many things I posted on twitter and instagram and then immediately deleted. Why would anyone care about my lamentations on oatmeal and elevators? Or that pic of the three foot chocolate egg at my grocery store I thought was hilarious:
I”ve tried snuggling my Liebster blog award at night, but it’s just not the same. It feels all angular. And German.
So I let that shame and insecurity win. I let it travel all the way down to the tips of my fingers and paralyze them.
I was a sad blogger.
But I’ve decided that enough is enough. Bluntly put, I need to just give less of a f*ck. I need to write more, more often, and care less about what people think. Otherwise, I’ll never fulfill my dreams of becoming Seth Meyers/David Sedaris/Mindy Kaling/Lena Dunham/Carl Kasell. (Ok, that last one isn’t even a writer.. I just love his voice SO DAMN MUCH).
Lena Dunham doesn’t G.A.F. how many people see her peeing, having sex, or wearing mesh shirts with no bra on TV, and look where it’s gotten her!
(Don’t worry guys, I won’t go that far).
I’ve come to realize that there is nothing less funny or engaging than a writer who is self-conscious. It’s time to start throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. It may not all work, but maybe some of it will. Some of my most successful posts have been ones I had no idea people would like, so who knows.
Anyway, I know you’re probably thinking, “Homegirl really needs to learn the difference between “blog” and “journal” right now” … but you know what, I don’t care. Im’ma just Be BreezyK. And you all should be You, too. Every weird, last one of you.
Question of the Day: How do you deal with self-doubt?
Is your writing primarily influenced by your audience, or what you want to write?