How often have you written something and said, “That is a great piece!” Or “I really developed myself with that book, or that article!” You probably have never said those words. Why?
Because we are all too critical of our writing. We live in our words and our minds so much that we continue to criticize ourselves instead of praising how much we have achieved.
How often have you heard an actor say they never watch their movies? Do you know why? They are the same way! They will criticize themselves over how they delivered the line, or how they entered the room. Many have found it is better to accept what others say and never look at the finished product.
Recently, I was going through some of my articles that I wrote when I was in my first job out of college. I had great clarity in those articles.
The amusement I took in sharing a story with the reader for one of my clients when I was working several years later for an advertising agency. I could not see the articles then as I see them now. I can take pride in those and realize I delivered great content to my readers.
I remember many times not entering my work into professional contests because I did not want to be judged by others, but when I was finally “encouraged” into entering by my Regional manager several years later, my campaign took a state-wide award. She convinced me to enter another competition, and one of my brochures won third place in technical writing for a medical piece.
The irony to the unwillingness to enter was; I was my own worst enemy. I was the judge against myself. When I was in high school, my Journalism teacher convinced me to enter a newswriting contest for a college journalism day. I didn’t want to, but she said I should because I would be graduating soon and it could help me win a scholarship if I won this contest.
She knew what buttons to push to get me to do it. I was one of five children, and affording college was out of the question I thought. I walked into the room where the contest would be held that day, and we were given two choices: Write a news story from the handout or write a news-feature story from the luncheon speaker we had just heard.
I chose the news-feature story about the luncheon speaker. He was an in-depth journalist who wrote for the major daily newspaper. I opened my lead with his opening quote, “If you can learn to live out of a suitcase, you can become an in-depth newspaper reporter.”
I can still hear him and see him giving his speech that day. It is as clear to me today, so many years later, as it was when I was writing it. I think I fell in love that day with Journalism, because he stood for all that was good in Journalism and what it could do for us.
I finished my article in 20 minutes on a typewriter with carbon paper. I was the first one finished. I checked everything to make sure all words were spelled correctly, and then I left. Everyone else was still at it.
I ran into my Journalism Teacher, Mrs Griffin, and she said, “How did you do?” “Not sure, I was the first one done. I wrote on the luncheon speaker, Jack Taylor, from the Daily Oklahoman.” “I’m sure you did just fine!” Mrs. Griffin was so reassuring.
Several weeks went by before I heard anything, but then the letter arrived. I had Won!
Yes, Mrs. Griffin was right, I needed to enter, and every scholarship application I filled out, I put that Win on it. Yes, I went to Journalism School on a Journalism Scholarship, thanks to Mrs. Griffin and her encouragement.