While at work the other day, I wrote the little note below to myself before an important meeting. I was going to be facing some higher ups, all of whom had high expectations of me. I was prepared and ready to answer any questions, but I was still nervous.
This little pep talk was enough for me to change my perception of what was happening. No one in that room wanted me to fail. In fact, if I made a fool of myself, it would likely inconvenience them more – as it would mean giving feedback, extra research and consoling me on my mistakes. All of those faces then, rather than being angry challenges, became supportive. They were intense, make no mistake, but they weren’t willing me to fail anymore.
It’s a really good maxim to live by. No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re driving to work or writing a script. I remember hearing it first on a podcast. I can’t remember which one (I’m positive that it is on my list of podcasts for writers) but if anyone remembers it then please give me a shout. I’d love to accredit it to the right people.
People don’t want writers to fail
When I was travelling home, I realised that the same could be said about my writing. No one picks up a copy of my book hoping that it’s rubbish (especially if they’ve paid good money for it). In fact, no one reads anything hoping that it is a failure. Think about that when you’re next writing something.
It’s an easy thing to remember, and easy to repeat to yourself before any writing session, presentation or meeting. In fact, it’s something to remember before you submit anything to a competition. Everyone hopes that what you’re putting in will blow them away and be the best thing they’ve ever read.
The caveat: surround yourself with the right people
I’m lucky, I suppose, that people around me are supportive and helpful. But that’s not by accident. I’ve come across a lot of people who undermined me and made me feel unimportant. I’ve successfully cut those people out of my life. My friends, family and workmates still give me feedback, and areas where I can improve, but it’s in a constructive way.
So if you have negative people reading your writing, think about not giving them the next piece that you complete. If they don’t want you to succeed, why let them in at all?