Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Optimism is the Foundation of Courage

So said Nicholas Murray Butler.  Don't know who Nicholas Murray Butler is?  'Sok.  Neither do I.

See, I work out at the YMCA once every blue moon, and when I leave, they have a basket of sayings that you can draw from at random.  This is the one I picked today.

Pretty wild, huh?  OPTIMISM is the foundation of courage.

So today, I'm going to break away from the writing tips and tricks and stuff and get a little serious.

a LITTLE serious.

This quote really hit home to me and I hope it does to you too.  What we're doing - writing and sharing our writing with others - is EXTREMELY courageous.  These aren't just characters, they're our kids.  And when we tell our stories to others we might as well be lifting our shirt and showing off our belly-buttons.  Which, if you're like me and your belly button is a smiley face, is pretty embarrassing.

Optimism is what allows us to do that courageous thing.  Without it, we might as well wad up our story and feed it to goats.  If you don't believe you have the same chance as everyone else, stop.  Just stop.

If you do believe that (and you DO have the same chance as everyone else), then write.  WRITE DAMMIT!!!

...sorry, didn't mean to yell...I just get passionate, ya see.

Write like you don't care if you ever get published.  Submit queries (intelligently, of course) like you don't care if you get rejected.  Hold your head up high and talk of WHEN you'll get published, not IF.

And for the naysayers, store it all up in a big box marked "I TOLD YOU SO".  When publishing occurs, break it open and smack 'em in the face with it.



  1. Wise words indeed.

    I think every writer has been terrified of showing their work to someone at some stage. It's as if we all have a phobia of criticism, combined with a fear of revealing our very personal stories. And they are very personal, usually - they're something we've laboured over, alone, for years at a time.

    We fear it because we think we can't face the worst. We think criticism means we're a terrible writer and our work is terrible and unredeemable. If writers were more optimistic about their work (while still being appropriately modest), there wouldn't be so much fear because they'd believe in the praise and take the criticism much better.

    Still, if you're a writer, none of it really matters. Writing is frequently difficult, unrewarding, antisocial, and time-consuming, and the chances of you even making a decent living from it are pretty bad, but you'll keep going anyway because writing isn't what you do - it's what you are.

  2. Absolutely - great point Claire. It's the same with just about any art form - photography, acting, poetry. We all fear what we don't know or can't predict, and no one can predict the reaction you'll get to your art. BUT, the key thing to keep in mind is that there are as many different opinions and observations as their are people. There are plenty of people who hate Stephen King. Hasn't stopped him from writing yet!


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