Friday, February 24

Do You Believe In Yourself?

This might seem like a silly question to some, but I think it's pertinent to all of us.  During lunch earlier today, I decided to cruise around on QueryTracker for fun. I enjoy seeing which agents respond quickly and which agents are most likely to give feedback. That might seem strange to some people, but I like staying in the loop even if I'm not currently querying.

Anyway, while looking around, I couldn't help but notice a few user names that kept cropping up. I won't give specific names, but below are a few examples* of names I kept noticing:
  • Notholdingmybreath
  • Igiveup
  • Agentssuck
Now, I don't know about you guys, but these user names actually bug me. If you are querying an agent, you obviously think your story is good enough to be published, so why would you degrade yourself by making your user name all about giving up/not being good enough?  As well, why on earth would you claim that agents or editors suck when you are trying to win them over with your fantastic writing and marketability? That just doesn't seem too wise to me.

If any of you have looked at the loops on QueryTracker, you all know about some of the bad mouthing that goes on over there--and some people have the gall to actually leave their real names! Now, I'm going to make it clear that I don't believe in bad mouthing agents and editors at all, regardless if I'm anonymous. But some people don't seem to have a problem saying whatever they feel like, even when they can be tracked!

I have two theories about why people do this:

My first theory is that these people truly have no concept of how their actions have consequences, especially when their transgressions are plastered all over the Internet for anyone to see. And trust me, agents look at QueryTracker, writing forums, your website, your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, and whatever else they can find about you. If they don't like what they see, they will not sign you!

My second theory is that people do this to avoid disappointment.  If they bad mouth agents or call themselves horrible writers, they can forgo the disappointment of not getting published. In a way, they are self-predicting the outcome, so that if rejection should occur, they won't be so heartbroken because they "didn't really expect anything to come of it anyway." Or, if the agent's reaction is positive towards their writing, but negative towards their public relations, they can claim that "you can't please everyone and we probably weren't compatible anyway."

I have seen this happen time and time again.  I have only been in the "writing scene" since 2009, but I've witnessed a lot of joyous occasions and a lot of cringe-worthy incidents'. And it's sad when you see that writer become self destructive.  We've all felt that way a time or two, where we believe our writing is awful or we will never be able to figure out marketing strategies in this day and age.  But most of us keep those times to ourselves, and we almost always manage to pull back from the ledge and calm down before we make a huge mistake.

As someone who grew up in this age of technology, I understand how difficult it can be to keep things off of the Internet. And I would be lying if I said I hadn't had a slip a time or two.  But the difference is knowing how far is too far.

We all have our days, but we also need to acknowledge when enough is enough. I've known many writers who dislike their own writing so intensely, I often wonder why they bother to write at all.  I might whine and complain about a chapter not working, or I might get really down about a rejection letter--I might even, in the despair of the moment, say I'm going to quit. However, deep down, I always know that I have it in me to succeed. I can be published, and hopefully, with hard work and a little bit of luck, I will be.

Do you believe in yourself?

*These user names are variations of ones I saw. As well, I am not talking about any specific person. These are merely examples.*


  1. I do believe in myself. It took me a while, but I'm finally at the point to say you will get there one way or another.
    I agree with your points on why those people do that. All I can say is Karma will come back and get you every time. I'm a big believer in that. What goes around comes around.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head, Nat. People with screen names like those are subconsciously trying to avoid disappointment. (And yeah, they might not have much of a concept of how actions have consequences.) You also hit on part of the reason I stay away from forums - the negativity is pervasive in those things and I don't need it. Life is negative enough sometimes without jumping off the diving board into a pool of it.

    As for believing in myself, it depends on the day. Yesterday I sat down and started hammering out ways to fix one of my old manuscripts. I felt pretty good then. =o)

  3. Christine- GOOD! Im glad you believe in yourself! =) I agree completely. One day, they'll figure it out and realize they were the reason they didn't succeed.

  4. Beth- I agree. I've known a lot of writers like that--I had to distance myself from a few because of their constant negativity. It just drove me insane. I do not want to give pep talks every day!

    Yes! Forums are soooo negative. I was never big on them to begin with, but now I'm 100% against them.

    Aww! Im so glad you had a good writing day yesterday =D


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