Repeat after me.
“I am made of Awesome. I have more breathtaking splendor oozing out my eyeballs than those nasty looking grubs that Bear Grills chomps the heads off have goo. I have remarkable talent, unimpeachable flair for the written word, and goshdarnit people like me.”
Now with conviction, please.
Saundra Mitchell raised an excellent point yesterday in her interview and I think it warrants its very own blog post. To remind you, she said:
“Early on, an established screenwriter took the time to work with me on my scripts. She challenged me to excel, and when I finally produced a solid episodic (a script for a one hour television drama,) she recommended me to her agent. This was a Big Deal, but I had never done a business call where I had to sell *me*.
When this agent asked me how I would describe myself, I said, “Oh, I’m just a little midwestern housewife trying to make good!” The call chilled after that, and you’re probably not surprised to find out that he didn’t offer to represent me.
So that was a big oops, but it was also a great lesson. Never minimize your own ability or ambition. There are enough people in the world who will do that for you!”
I know you writerly types, always whimpering over an adjective that just doesn’t feel right. Or how ’bout yesterday when you left that beautifully constructed sentence in the first paragraph, the one that made you wonder how you had yet to win a Pulitzer. But today, in the light of morning, you’d just as soon put a bag over its head.
Ok, we all feel that way. And we feel that way a lot of the time. That’s what pushes us to improve and drives success, so embrace those sentiments, but as your little sister might have said to you whilst you were busy making out with Jake, the lead guitarist of your high school’s coolest garage band, on the couch:
“Get a room!”
This sort of self-doubt is an indoor activity. When we step “outside” it’s time to sell ourselves.
You are your own biggest advocate. You can sell yourself better than anyone.
Now, I’m not saying modesty isn’t important. And please, oh, please, don’t walk up to an agent or editor and declare that you are, in fact, made of awesome. K? But do think it quietly to yourself because it’s that inner glow that attracts.
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a bit. It’s not bragging if done adeptly.
You might not want to say to prospective agent/editor: “I fully expect to top the bestseller list my first year out.”
But equally unattractive… “I know my book isn’t bestseller material, so don’t worry, I have much more reasonable ambitions like just getting published.”
So let’s try some middle ground: “I am proud of the book I put out and want it to have the best chance at success possible. I am also confident in my ability to continue to write and build my career.”
Everyone has good qualities to tout. I remember I told my agent on the phone that I am a fast writer and can produce quickly. This is the truth and something that I felt needed saying because it influenced my thoughts on the path my career could take. Therefore, I got to say something positive about myself yet remain relevant to the conversation at hand.
So never undermine your own abilities. Be proud of the work you seek to promote. Enthusiasm is contagious.
And as T.I. would aptly remind us: It Ain’t Trickin’ If You Got It.
Status: Got caught up on some law school work yesterday so I plan to do more script writing today. Our goal to start submitting SCOUT is November 1. I’m incredibly excited but want to make sure that every part of the proposal package is the absolute best it can be. So, lots exciting happening, but lots to do.
5 thoughts on “Topical Tuesday: It Ain’t Trickin’ If You Got It”
Your enthusiasm is contagious indeed.
You felt it too, huh? I loved that Sandra said that in her interview. It’s something I’ve always noticed and recently begun implementing. I’ve had people scoff at it and tell me to be “realistic,” but I honestly think that highlighting your good qualities is more realistic than moping over your bad ones.
I know that its not totally the same, but I am in the interviewing process for a job and its the exact same thing. Its important that you aren’t afraid to talk yourself up a little bit.
This was the perfect post to read as I’m gearing up for the RUCCL conference this weekend. Thanks for filling my head with awesomeness.
Great post. Especially when we’re put on the spot, it’s normal to feel shy or overawed, to downplay what we’ve done. But if we don’t think that our work is good, why should others do so?
Everything in moderation, including humility. 🙂