Here’s a secret about a lot of writers. We have fragile egos. We crave positive feedback, and when we don’t get much (or any), we’re often struck by a feeling of “I’m not as good as [fill in name of admired author here].”

I have a Gary Larson cartoon above my desk that captures that feeling. It’s entitled “Sheep authors,” and shows a sheep at a desk throwing papers in the air; crumpled papers cover the floor and overflow a wastebasket. The sheep is saying, “Forget it! Forget it! Everything I write is just so much bleating!”

Sometimes before I sit down to write a post, I read through some of the other blogs I follow. I’m starting to find this isn’t necessarily a good way to start, because I fall into the trap of feeling not as clever, funny, smart, etc. as those admired bloggers.

Just this week I was having that feeling when I came across a post by James at Men With Pens on “How to feel consistently confident about your writing.” He says:

Those seven words [“I wish I could write like that”] can plant a dangerous seed in the mind of even the most accomplished authors, making them second-guess their abilities and wonder if they’re really cut out for this writing business after all. And what begins as a tiny sliver of self-doubt takes on a life of its own.

He has some great suggestions, including writing down every good thing anyone has ever said about your writing.  My version of this is what I call my “glory” file. There’s a paper file folder, where I put notes, cards and printouts of emailed comments. I also have an electronic file, where I copy snippets of praise to read through when I haven’t received any lately.

So taking James’ advice, I read through a few of the comments. I also looked at my sheep cartoon and smiled. OK, I feel better.