The Crippling Self-doubt,

“The content is okay but maybe you might want to read the article again to check your grammar”

Not the exact words. But you get the gist. To be honest, I was having a pretty good work week until I got the email. I’d like to think that I can take criticism, but I admit sometimes it cuts a bit too deep.

I wish I could say this comment came from en editor, or any writer by profession. Then perhaps it would be an easier pill to swallow. But it didn’t so you can imagine how badly I took it. Was my work really that bad to have garnered such a comment, from someone doesn’t even write professionally?

It threw me off my game the entire week. I kept having these nagging thoughts at the back of my mind: “Why am I even writing as a career” “Whoever told me I was a good writer?” “What made me think I’m a good writer” “Maybe I’m really not cut out for this” “I need a career switch”.

After all, “Writer” is probably not the occupation my peers or ex-teachers would have expected of me. (Side-story: I had a teacher laugh when I said writing was something I intended to pursue, but that’s a story for another day). I’m not an openly passionate person so I tend to hide the things I love doing. Plus, being in an institution with so many other wonderful writers who practically shout their talents out loud tends to make you just want to hide in the crowd.

The truth is, the process of curating articles, or any form of copy for that matter, day after day gets really draining. Some articles are easier than others. Sometimes words flow out naturally. Sometimes it takes a lot of staring at my screen, tapping my mouse, getting up to get a drink, pacing up and down, sitting on the toilet just to get some inspiration. This particular work was something I found more difficult to complete. I had no idea where I was going with it. I pondered over it for days. I beat myself up for not doing it justice. I always want to do justice to the work I am tasked with. Who wouldn’t?

Then there’s managing so many other deadlines. You want to give something your 100%, but reality needs you to spread your energy across so many different projects.

But in the end I thought I had produced something I thought was worthy, even though it wasn’t my best. But I was wrong.

“You can’t expect all your work to be your best”

That’s what my boyfriend told me. At first I didn’t pay his words any attention. I was too stuck in a self-degrading frame of mind. But the more I reflected on it, the more I realised it’s true.

I am human. I am flawed. And yes, I have imperfect grammar. Just listen to me speak and you’ll know what I mean. I use lahs and lors frequently. I don’t speak in proper Queen’s English. My friends say “And you’re a writer?!?!” to me on a frequent basis, more than I’d like them too. And I guess, once in awhile, my imperfect grammar creeps into my writing.

There are two kinds of people – those who pick themselves up in the face of failure, and those who let failure get the most of them. I hope I’ll never be one of the latter.

So I’ll do better. I’ll work harder. But once in awhile, I will cut myself some slack. We all should.

 

xx,

Mel

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