A favorite quote around our house is from Rain Man. Dustin Hoffman plays Raymond, an autistic savant, who frequently declares “I’m an excellent driver.” And we all know how it goes from there- (he’s NOT!) My family often uses this phrase when someone declares a fact that is unlikely true.
I’ve been told countless times throughout my life that I am a terrible writer. Really. And yet, I forge on.
“Please See Me!”
A message from my seventh grade teacher in big red letters glared at me on the top of my recently submitted poetry homework. What had I done wrong? This was poetry for heaven’s sake. Though she didn’t come right out and say it, she was accusing me of either plagiarism or not writing the poem I had submitted. “Pooh Sticks” a sweet little poem was filled with alliteration and perhaps written in a style way beyond my years, therefore could not have been written solely by me.
“Report To the Writing Resource Center”
Fast forward to my first semester senior year in college and this lovely message prevented me from acquiring my class schedule. Amazing, since I was a humanities major and my sole purpose for choosing this focus was to develop stronger writing skills. What made this even more incredulous was the fact that I had made it this far in my college career without ever stepping foot in the writing resource center or any professor’s office to discuss my poor writing skills.
“Is English Your First Language?”
During my first real job with a large law firm in Washington, DC, the junior partner I was working for called me into her office. “Read this,” she said, as she handed me a copy of Strunk & White. To soften the terse request, she followed up by asking if English was my first language. (English is my first language and I still haven’t cracked open that copy of Strunk & White.)
Don’t Let Them Get You Down
If I had taken all of this “constructive criticism” to heart, you wouldn’t be reading this.
If I had let the negative feedback deter me from writing, then I would have let “them” win. Determination, passive, and conviction drove those voices and words out of my head.
Now, I’m no Pollyanna. I’m a realist. However, sometimes, you just have to tune out the bad stuff and focus on what’s important to you.
Whatever those negative voices in your head are saying. Whatever rejection or criticism you’ve received. Never let that get in your way of doing what you need to do or being who you want to be.
Further proof that my writing doesn’t really suck is the fact that the book I co-authored with Miriam Salpeter is coming out really soon! (Miriam is a great editor and super patient, by the way!) Stay tuned for more information!
Image from Wikipedia
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.