This heading is so important, I need to repeat it. I am good enough. And you are good enough too.
And anyone in your life who undermines that belief is someone you need to put space between.
Listen: if you seriously want to be a writer, or are pursuing that dream right now, you will face adversity enough. Its a profession/vocation which simultaneously requires the sensitivity to detect a fly’s wing quiver and the reinforced hide of a rhinoceros to deal with all the rejection and the long lead-in time.
The novel for which I signed my publication agreement in September took three years of hard work. I don’t know how it is for others, but I know that for me it took tremendous willpower. You will need, excuse the crudity, balls of iron and turbo-powered ovaries to shut everything else out and keep going. What you don’t need is people attacking you and undermining you.
Some people are wired never to be satisfied. If you get one thing right, they will inevitably find something else to criticise. Anyone remember Miss Scatcherd out of Jane Eyre? “Such is the imperfect nature of man! Such spots are there on the disc of the clearest planet; and eyes like Miss Scatcherd’s can only see those minute defects, and are blind to the full brightness of the orb.” This was after she beat the living daylights out of Helen Burns for being a SLATTERN. Or there’s the example of the groom in an Emily Yoffe agony column whose bride objected to his female friend being a bridesmaid because she wore thick glasses and “glasses are an inappropriate accessory for women’s formalwear, and the bridal magazines have convinced her that there can be no exceptions to the no-glasses rule.” Yes, that actually happened.
If someone is of a critical bent, there is no point of accomplishment you can achieve that will satisfy their standards – because those “standards” are arbitrary and rigged against you. There will always be slatternliness and glasses. There will always be people who know nothing of the industry, your due diligence and your craft popping up to tell you that you’ve done something wrong. Even Eleanor Catton gets people making remarks about her damn hair colour. There’s just no pleasing people.
Do your homework, focus yourself and be sensible. But you will learn to recognise the naysayers, the people who add nothing but poison. Don’t try to please them. You don’t need to. You are good enough.
Say it out loud: I AM GOOD ENOUGH AND SO ARE YOU.
And get writing 🙂