Monday, December 12, 2011

5 Reasons to Embrace the Genius Within

After reading some of the comments from my previous post about why we should shed the genius within, I thought it was important to write a follow up post on why we should also embrace the genius within. In truth, it's about finding the balance between the two.

Below are my reasons for also embracing the genius within and finding that balance:

1. To guard against the doubts. It's easy for us writers to think our talent isn't so fabulous, especially when we compare our work to the polished pieces sitting on our bookshelves. When a novel is well written, it appears effortless. We think, 'I can do that!' only to discover, it's not so easy and there's far more effort involved than we thought. Doubts begin to set in. Those doubts can cause us to quit too early. If we embrace the genius within, then we can know we can get through the days when the doubts speak loudest. We can know we are good enough if we keep striving.

2. To keep the passion alive. To ride the rollercoaster to publication, I believe we must nurture passion for our work and slog on regardless of what the inner voices say about it, regardless of what reviewers say about it, regardless of what family members might think about it. It's the passion that keeps the hope alive, that drives us forward, that helps us to persevere. 

3. To have the courage to share our work. If we never think our work is good enough then we'll never get a second opinion. We'll hide away our writing so that no one ever gets to read it. That, I think, would be a tragedy. Part of the joy of writing is sharing it with others. 

4. To know that anything can be fixed. Often when we're writing a first draft we think we've come up with the best concept in the world and we fall in love with our characters. It's when we sink ourselves into the revisions, when we question everything we're just written, that the task becomes daunting. We realise we don't have a masterpiece. This is when it's important to both shed and embrace the genius. Shed, because we have to find the faults. Embrace, because we have to know we can fix the draft and turn it into something special. 

5. To gain confidence and a clear perspective. I don't think anyone's work lacks potential. I don't think natural talent is a prerequisite to publication. I do think perseverance and hard work are key. If we're too busy trying to avoid over confidence, then we'll swing the other way and hate our work. We'll believe the lies about not being good enough. To gain a clearer perspective I think we should accept that maybe, just maybe, we have enough genius within us to do what it takes to achieve our dreams.

In summary, find your passion and love your work. Take satisfaction in the hard slog because deep down you know it will be worth it in the end because you'll be able to take pride in the words you've produced.

Do you lean one way more than the other when it comes to confidence? What do you do to keep a balance in the way you approach your writing life?
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Thanks so much to Shah from Words in Sync for the One Lovely Blog Award. It is hugely appreciated.

Pic: I just wanted to share with you the grandness of almost seeing a lunar eclipse. That's pretty much all I got to see of it on Saturday due to clouds.  

44 comments:

  1. Excellent post. What you say is so right. It's sometimes hard to keep a balance. Some days are worse than others, but the good days are very good. The passion I have for writing might be dimmed by doubts at certain times, but then it burns bright again. The passion will keep me writing for the rest of my life no matter what happens with my career.

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  2. I admit, I lean towards the side of doubt. I wrote my first book ages ago and hid it away for a long time. It took encouragement from my wife to try again.
    It does take a balance.

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  3. That's the hard part. Doubt comes so easily. I agree with you 100%, though. It does take a certain belief in one's ability to write a novel, get feedback, survive rejection, and write again.

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  4. I agree with the others - each day, it's a trick to stay balanced. We need others' opinions to round out our writing, and we need to believe in ourselves when what we're working on isn't working. It's a constant juggle.

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  5. Thank you for writing this. It gives me hope as a newbie to know authors feel the same doubts as me, at the same times as me. I write as though someone might steal my MAC and imagination at any minute. I read it back and it needs so much work it scares the passion out of me. But anything worthy comes to us through hard work, knowing talent is only part of the process gives me hope :D X

    Shah .X

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  6. The concept of genius is subjective. It more important to find the audience that wants to read what you write. If we sit around trying to create genius we may never create anything or won't be satisfied with what we've created. I don't set out to create a work of genius, just something that's entertaining and readable.


    Lee
    A to Z stories starting 12/12 and the official A to Z Badge is now revealed
    Blogging from A to Z

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  7. I definitely lean towards self-doubt. I took a huge step last week by finally letting somebody read one of my stories. Guess what? She thought it had potential and the world didn't cave in :-)

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  8. Good series, Lynda. I'm really glad you followed the last one up with this.

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  9. Christine, yes, I do believe it's the passion that keeps us going.

    Alex, I like the sound of your wife :)

    Luanne, we are only human after all :)

    Melodie, it is indeed.

    Shah, it does make a difference knowing you aren't alone.

    Lee, yes, my previous post stresses that point in particular. It's all about balance and, like you said, finding the right market.

    Sarah, that's so brilliant! The more you share your work, the easier it gets too.

    Laura, thanks

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  10. Self-doubt plagues every one of us. It's so hard to write and then write well to put your work out there.

    Congrats on your award.

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  11. Oh wow!! The lunar eclipse pic is beautiful!! I'm so envious - the day before here the moon was very very big and very bright! Wonderful!

    It's so hard to keep things in perspective and not lose one's writerly confidence! I tend to swing always to the side of self-doubt and fear! LOL! But I certainly agree that perseverance, hard work and patience and being very focused definitely pays off too. Take care
    x

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  12. You are right, it takes confidence to share our work and revise. As for my confidence level? It goes up and down daily. Doesn't every writer's?

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  13. I'm lean more towards the doubt. I've always been a little insecure, but I don't let that stop me.

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  14. Totally depends on the month or week you're talking to me! It always fluctuates. :)

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  15. ooh, love the lunar eclipse :) It's the time when loonies go even loonier :)

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  16. All great points, Lynda! I tend to lean toward the "not genius" side too strongly, so I guess having that support network is vital in my case. But you're right. We have to have a certain level of confidence if we're ever going to share our work~

    Good stuff! :o)

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  17. I needed to hear this, especially today. Thanks, Lydia. :-)

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  18. I should think about this more often, but I don't. Instead I focus on making my writing the best it can be, and when I fall short, continuing on my writing journey. I guess that could be considered as genius, but I view it as dedication (or stubbornness) and hope.

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  19. I look forward to sharing my writing. You're so right about perseverance and hard work. Faith, too. An awesome post! Thanks for your wisdom.

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  20. Great set of blogs! It's hard to balance the genius with the fear...my rule of thumb is embrace and future the genius during the first draft and then add a little fear during revisions.

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  21. Thank you so much! I'm so grateful to a sister who is willing to send me to sites like yours and help me refuel when I get down on me. I've always said that writing is just what I do, whether or not it makes $$ is inconsequential in the long run. But it is still nice to think that someday, someone other than ME will see it. cheers!

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  22. Ah yes, great to have that balance. I struggle with that myself. It's way too easy to compare our work with what's polished and published, so much that it's daunting to begin a new novel! Even our own work goes through it's "ugly" stages; we just have to power through and come out on the other side. :)

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  23. I swing back and forth when it comes to confidence; though most of the time I'm fairly optimistic about my writing.

    Congratulations on the award!

    That's a cool picture.

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  24. I'm walking the confidence tightrope at the moment, trying not to look down. ;) Great post, Lynda!

    Congratulations on the award!

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  25. We do need to find a balance. We need to have enough confidence to fight for our own vision, to keep standing after a lashing from haters, to keep writing and submitting no matter how many times we hear no. We need a certain amount of confidence to persist. We have to have some unshakeable faith in ourselves somewhere.

    It's bizarre, as I feel most of us embody both sides - insecurity & faith/confidence. Duality. We can all draw on that in our next masterpieces. :)

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  26. Very cool that got to see part of the eclipse!

    I think having confidence is a real battle...at least it is for me. I try to focus the positives in every rejection. :P

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  27. Nas, yes it is, and thanks

    Kitty, it is hard to keep that perspective, so it's good to get reminders :)

    Theresa, haha yeah, mine too. I think you might be right about it being a problem for every writer.

    Ciara, yep, it's important not to let it stop you.

    Laura, hehe, I can relate.

    Dezzy, lol, and I'm right at home...

    Leigh, I think the support is vital no matter which way we lean--for both the confidence and the grounding :)

    Emily, dedication is more important.

    Joanne, yes, faith!

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  28. Hannah, haha yep, fear during the revisions works well.

    S. E. Rittel, Welcome! and good luck in your writing journey.

    Carol, yep, sometimes powering through is the only way.

    Golden, thanks so much

    Carrie, don't look down!! Thanks

    Mary, absolutely. Your persistence is inspiring :)

    Sharon, focusing on the positives is a definite way to go.

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  29. I definitely tear myself apart when I first start revising my rough draft. It seems so awful, I can't believe I ever thought I could write. But then I remind myself of times I felt like this in the past, and how I was able to get past slop whipped into pretty good shape, and that gives me the confidence I need to go on.

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  30. As I shared on another blog today: I write, therefore, I am. I have the courage to share with the world my work. It does take courage as one is exposing themselves for all to see. Hopefully people will like what they see.

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  31. Great post. I tend to oscillate between overconfidence and under confidence. Nowadays, I am getting my passion for writing back.

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  32. I'm very positive oriented. So anything that keeps up my passion and confidence is pretty essential:)

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  33. Susan, yes, it's good to remind ourselves we CAN write if we keep going and put a little effort into it.

    Stephen, definitely

    Rachna, regaining your passion is fantastic to hear :)

    Mark, for me too

    Curmudgeon, hope it helps.

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  34. This was an interesting counterpart to the last opposing post. Balance is essential.

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  35. Finding the balance is crucial. I'm not sure how I do it or if I manage it. I just try to keep on writing and revising. As you wrote: "perseverance and hard work are key."

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  36. I hope I can do some (or all) of these things. :)

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  37. Excellent follow up! I lean toward less confidence, at this point, but I'm trying to overcome it.

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  38. I'm suffering through a bad case of doubtitis right now. This is just what the doctor ordered :)

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  39. Depends on where I am in the process. When I'm drafting, I totally embrace my inner genius. When it's edit/revision time, I embrace my inner critic/editor. :-)

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  40. Another great post! Somedays I lean one way, and somedays I lean the other. I think it's just part of being a writer, and being human. :)

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  41. This is all wonderful advice. I'm big on embracing my inner genius. If all else fails at least I'll be happy just being me. Have a Merry Christmas. I'll be gone for the rest of the year. :)

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  42. Anthony, it is indeed

    Cynthia, just keeping on is the best thing you can do.

    Lydia, same

    Shannon, I hope it gets easier for you.

    Samantha, I understand doubtitis all too well ;)

    Misha, that's the best way to do it, I think.

    Margo, exactly right.

    Laila, oh, have a great break! I'll be taking a break too.

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  43. Wonderful information and as someone in the middle of the doubt phase--I loved it! Thanks!

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.