This year, I’ve tried to offer more helpful posts than not-as-helpful-but-hopefully-still-entertaining-to-some-degree posts. This post will likely fall under Column B. And it’s much more personal than I usually am here. This is not stuff I usually share outside my immediate friends and family because I like my privacy and hate being judged.
But this blog is about my life as a writer, and these past few months have impacted my ability to rub two words together.
Therefore, I share.
If you’d like something helpful, here’s Flex your skills with 5-minute freewriting.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working through one of the worst bouts of depression I’ve had in years. I haven’t been well physically or emotionally, and my creative well ran dry. By the time August rolled around, my well was more barren than Mordor.
My level of self-care went from being proactively seeking new ways to nurture myself and those around me to “Yay, my socks match and I remembered to floss! Naptime.”
No one likes to work with someone who refuses to take feedback. We’ve all worked with people like that—someone who’s determined that he/she is right and that others are wrong and that the work produced is without flaw or need of improvement at all, whatsoever. Period.
It’s not easy.
There was a period of two years during which I worked with two graphic designers who are absolute opposites when it comes to handling critique of their work.
Note: When I refer to these creative colleagues, I’m obviously not going to use their real names. So I’ll call them Gandalf and Saruman. Personal preference.
Watching them showed me their distinct approaches—and how to be better at taking feedback myself.
Dear Writer’s Block,
Thanks to you, it’s taken me almost ten minutes to write this sentence. You’re the gag gift that comes with every blank page. The side of half-baked brussel sprouts with every meal.
You are more persistently irritating than a grain of sand nailed to the eyeball. You are a plague to writers around the world. You poison our creative wells with anxiety and depression to make sure we still suffer even when you’ve moved on to your next victim.
We cannot find peace even when you grow bored with us. For when you leave, we know you’ll come back. You always do. When we least expect it. When we most need you to leave us alone and let us work.
You, dear Writer’s Block, defy all reason and logic. Many, even fellow writers, simply don’t believe in you.
Writers write. Good writers write a lot. Or so I keep telling the junior writer I currently mentor.
She’s talented, has a terrific attitude and a bright future ahead of her. I still want to flick her in the forehead when she rolls her eyes at the suggestion that she start blogging. Especially when she follows her eye roll with “Yeah, I know I should,…but…you know…”
Incidentally, “…but, you know” is one of the worst responses ever and sets my teeth on edge every time. But I’ll spare you my rant and move on.
There exist tons of articles and posts on why writers should blog. These articles exist for a reason.
Blogging is good for you. For so many reasons. Even if no one ever reads it.
In a perfect world. we’d all know our value. This is not a perfect world. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like an imposter. Me too. Especially as a copywriter. People either think I’m way smarter than I actually feel, or they simply have no idea what I do and how I do it. Either way tends to leave me at a loss for words sometimes (no pun intended).
Last week, it occurred to me: I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way.
This is a confession. My own personal confession as a copywriter. Because (and here’s my first confession), I often feel inadequate when I feel like someone assumes I’m smarter than I feel like I actually am. Like all copywriters should be these awesome, wonderful, intelligent, creative, magical creatures who know the English language inside and out, and if I don’t live up to one of these misconceptions, I’m failing my own vocation. Like I’m not a ‘real’ copywriter if I don’t fit the pre-defined mold.
So, my putting these out there hopefully lets you know that you’re not alone if you ever feel the same way.