The Art of Being Enough, Writer’s Edition

Heart-jasper-brickred-1772-l One of my favorite current spiritual messages is: you are enough.  Or, to put it more personally, I am enough.

I've written about this before (actually twice, here and here,) but it is important enough (there's that word again) to write about it again.

Because, as a writer, it is hard not to constantly question whether we are enough–good enough, clear enough, popular enough, and so on.  We are constantly buffeted by critiques, edits, and rejections, all of which combine to make us believe we are not enough.  And truthfully, everyone's writing benefits from a look-see by another pair of eyes, be it an editor or critique partner.

But to keep going we have to believe we are enough.  We have to forget about rejections, brush off harsh critiques and find the courage to return, once again, to the page.

How, when we are engaged in putting our words out into the world, do we do this?  How do we maintain a consistent knowledge that we are enough in our writing?  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Know the difference between standing for yourself and egotism.

Standing for yourself = loving yourself and your work in a realistic way (like you'd love a child).

Egotism = false pride.  Pumping your work up, based not on reality but on emptiness.

2.  Get some distance from your work.

Your writing, unless it is in your journal, belongs in the world.   When it is ready, let it go.  Love it and let it go, as you would a child going off to college.  As a parent the hardest truth of your existence is this: you're training your child to leave you.  When you've done your job right, your kids leave.  So, too, with your writing. 

3.  Remember that rejection is way more about the person doing the rejecting than you or your work.

Unless the work is just flat-out crappy, rejection is truly reflective of the person doing the rejecting.  There are so many variables at work that you, in your limited view, can not understand.  Maybe the editor just bought an article like the one you propose.  Perhaps the agent hates novels that begin with mothers and daughters arguing (for murky reasons that are not clear even to her).

4.  Remind yourself of these truths.

Practice being worthy.  Practice being enough.  Say it:  I am worthy.  I am enough.  My writing is worthy.  My writing is enough. Feel yourself being worthy and let it spill out onto the page.  Don't all into negativity and fear, in all its sneaky guises.

5. Practice appreciation.

Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, reminds us that what we appreciate appreciates.  As in value.  She advocates taking stock of what valuable assets we already have and using them as the basis for changing our lives for the good.  You have valuable writing assets: talent, desire, inspiration.  Use them!

How do you remind yourself that you are enough?

Photo by oedipurphinx, from Everystockphoto.

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4 Responses to The Art of Being Enough, Writer’s Edition

  1. Patrick Ross 06/16/2011 at 18:40 #

    “We have to forget about rejections, brush off harsh critiques and find the courage to return, once again, to the page.”

    Well said. I would think embracing #5, practicing appreciation, helps. I like the concept that what appreciates, appreciates.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 06/17/2011 at 11:55 #

    Hi Patrick, I love that concept, too. So simple and yet so true! Lynne’s book is full of gems.

  3. Square-Peg Karen 06/20/2011 at 15:55 #

    Lol, it took saying the phrase “what appreciates, appreciates” out loud for me to get it – I knew there was something in it that I was missing! Now that I get it, I’m a fan of #5 too!!

    Thanks for the list, Charlotte – I think that we can’t hear “you are enough” (or say “I am enough”) enough times – EVER! I think the culture (at least advertising) sells us the opposite message so much that we REALLY need to hear it over and over again! Such a great message.

  4. Charlotte Dixon 06/21/2011 at 10:06 #

    Hi Karen, Yes, a very wise woman recently commented, “If you’ve grown up in a western culture, odds are good you’ve got some issues with not being enough.” And, alas, it is true. We are an advertising-driven, acquisitive society and it is very difficult to unplug from that. Thanks for commenting!

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