When I was younger, I could never finish writing a book. Even after I typed “the end”, I’d find a sequel to write, or a spin-off series. In fact, the first seven manuscripts (mind you I started these when I was in 6th grade, so manuscript might be too kind a word) were all directly connected to each other, featuring the same characters and settings. I simply couldn’t let them go. Their world had become my own.
As my writing journey progressed, that emotional bond to my writing amplified. In fact, some days it seemed my self-esteem was entirely tied to how well my edits went on my book. I’ve noticed this occurring to other writers too, on many different parts of the publishing path. Some might measure their self worth in that request/rejection query pie-chart. Others, in how sizable an advance they receive or how many twitter followers they have. If one is self-published, it’s easy to obsessively watch sales, and let each one impact one’s mood.
But that’s not healthy.
We writers are more than the sum of our manuscript words, or our query stats or our books sales. We are members of families, artists, career-people, athletes and artists. We’ve achieved so much in our non-writing lives. We’ve bought houses, landed promotions, learned dance moves, taught our dogs to fetch…
We are more than our writing.
So, right now, wherever you are in the writing journey, pause for a moment. Make a list. On paper or on the computer. Include ALL the wonderful things you are, and ALL the things you’ve achieved. Then, keep that list close. Whenever you’re having a bad day editing, or don’t have any book sales, or get a query rejection, review that list.
My list is pinned above my desk. One item on it is “I am a knitter.” And sure enough, I’ve found, on days when the writing is crappity-crap crap, I should pick up my knitting needles to create something new. Something awesome. Something unrelated to my words.
You can do that too. You created amazing words, yes. But you are also an amazing human being, made of so many more parts than just your writing.