I was straightening up my room yesterday and came across some notebooks. One of them I had used in a multi-purpose fashion: there were workshop notes, poems, some journal entries, etc. Within the notebook were some journal entries from my first-ever SCBWI national conference in Los Angeles. It was my first trip to California, and it served double duty: I got to see family that live there as well as one of my closest friends in the world, a man I refer to often as my “brother from another mother,” musician Robbie Gennet.
In my entry, written on the Saturday morning of the three-day conference, I found something that still resonates with me. I had written, Last night Robbie was asking me what I’m afraid of. It suddenly seemed silly to say “of not being good enough.” Robbie logically asked me good enough for what? For who? Who am I comparing myself to? Would Paula Danziger have ever said, “I’m not as good as Judy Blume so I won’t write?” My students are my audience and they mostly enjoy my writing, so what the hell?
That was back in 2006, and even to this day, sometimes I still fall into the trap of “I’m not good enough.” I posted the other day on Facebook asking my writing friends if they ever think the work they’ve labored over, that an agent wants to represent, just sucks; I’d experienced that feeling upon re-reading my manuscript to do one last polishing before my agent sends it out into the world looking for a home. And finding this entry last night reminded me to not compare myself to anyone (except for a marketing plan, of course!). My writing stands on its own merit, I’m my own worst critic, so I’m flicking off my shoulder that little editor voice that sneers in my ear that I’m not good enough. Go away, little pessimist!