"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Uplift --- Eureka!

Nathan Bransford wrote a very interesting post recently on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Do you lack confidence in your writing? It seems that might be a good thing.

This was like an Eureka moment to me. And what an interesting concept. If you’re at the pre-agented stage in the journey to publication, you’re especially susceptible to agonizing self-doubt. If you suffer from lack of confidence in your writing skills (as I believe we all do from time to time), make your way to Mr. Bransford's posthaste.

Lack of confidence can be debilitating, and with each rejection it becomes harder and harder to maintain a decent level of self-esteem without which one cannot gather the courage to forge ahead and resubmit. According to the Dunning-Kruger effect, lack of confidence can actually be an indicator of talent. Likewise, when people are incompetent at something they tend to lack the ability to realize it.

Maybe this theory can also explain the recent actions of certain Republicans in the House and Senate. Maybe it explains why the Texas Board of Education is trying to write Thomas Jefferson out of history. These self-proclaimed historians have traced the idea of "separation of church and state" back to Jefferson and they don’t like separation of church and state, so they would strike him out of American History. What is troubling about this is that the textbook industry contains very few textbook publishers and because of the tremendous purchasing power Texas has, what they want schoolchildren to know can make its way into classrooms around the country. From sea to shining sea, Thomas Jefferson could become but a memory.

But this blog is supposed to be principally devoted to the craft of writing, so back to Nathan. Read his post. I’m calling this the Wednesday Uplift. You might be underrating your abilities. Go see what I mean.

14 comments:

Travener said...

If "lack of confidence" = "indicator of talent" I must be greatly talented...

Lola Sharp said...

Yeah, I'm with you on the textbook issue.
Frightening.

Happy humpday!

Elana Johnson said...

Great post! I do think we all fall into this trap sometimes. I think every creative person does, especially if they're getting rejected.

She Writes said...

It has been awhile since I have visited him. I will head over!

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. Thank you for reminding me of this. I actually feel better. :)

Laura Canon said...

I kind of understand what he means. Someone with a large ego and little insight will eventually fall into the I'm-a-great-writer-but-the-world-is-against-me mindset.

Nessa said...

Well, this concept sure is encouraging. I'm off to check it out.

Jemi Fraser said...

Interesting stuff - I haven't made it to Nathan's yet today. I think looking too far ahead in the process is one of the things I find undermines my confidence and my drive. One step at a time.

Yvonne said...

Travener,
You are obviously very talented.

Lola,
Thanks!

Elana,
Thank you. Rejection sucks. No getting around that. Good thing the highs transcend the lows.

Amy,
Do. It's a great post. Glad to see you back. I missed you!

Sarahjayne,
Thanks! Yes it made me feel good too so I wanted to make sure all my peeps saw it.

Laura,
Hi! Yes indeed. Some of the biggest egos I've known have been a big pain in the arse. Thanks for commenting!

Nessa,
I'd be interested in what you think of it. I mean, it makes total sense.

Jemi,
Hmmm. Interesting. I don't think I look far enough ahead. At least in the beginning I didn't. I remember my creative writing teacher asking me who my audience was and I was like, umm, audience? Am I supposed to know that??

Aubrie said...

You can't erase someone from history! That's like denial.

Thanks for stopping by my blog :) I'm a follower of yours now.

Talli Roland said...

Interesting! I must be very talented. Or very bad -- I swing back and forth between thinking my writer is the best thing ever to detesting every letter on the page!

Yvonne said...

Hi Aubrie,
Thanks so much! I think that TX thing is just horrible. They're actually deleting Thomas Jefferson from their history curriculum. Who's next? George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Thanks for following me. The hell with Texas, you made my night!

p.s. I just love your profile picture.


Talli,
I do the same thing. Back and forth, up and down. The writing life. Sigh

Brian Miller said...

thats crazy about rewriting history...the post by nate wa sreally intriguing...

popped by when i saw you at g-mans...am i missing your 55?

Yvonne said...

Brian,
Hey, thanks for stopping. My 55 is up now. Come back!!

(Do you think it's all the heat down there in the big T?)