Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You tell me: Self-Esteem

I've been meaning to do a post on self-esteem for a little while. I went to look it up, because I really hate to be wrong about things when a little work can help me can avoid it. And one thing you pick up after years of grad school ... definitions are important. If you can't define something, how can you study it?

So. Self-esteem. Oh, goodness. Google it, and you'll get tons of definitions.

I'm going to go with this one: a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.

Now, please, please tell me, friends, and just give me the first answer that pops into your head: How's yours? Is your overall self-esteem high or low?

And now, tell me this: Is your self-esteem as a writer higher or lower than your self-esteem in other areas of your life? Why?

Does your self-esteem (overall and in specific areas of your life) change by the day or is it constant? Has it changed slowly over time one way or the other? Does it depend on external events, or does it come from inside you?

You don't really have to tell me if you don't want to. But think about it.

I'll talk about this more on Friday ...

And for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog this month, a fascinating question from Lydia: “In my writing, I have never______” or, in reverse if you so choose, “In my writing, I always______.” Laura's doing her post this week, so be sure to check it out!


  1. Hmmm? A provocative question. My self esteem overall is high, even as a writer because I've won awards for my writing, but that was in electronic media. Because I'm not published yet, I struggle wondering if I have delusions of grandeur in this media or am just not trying hard enough.

  2. My self-esteem is usually more than just healthy. Not arrogance, just knowing that I'm awesome and loving it.

    Sometimes I don't always feel like it, but I know that it's the truth and that means that rare, but most important confidence in knowing who I am never waivers.

    Any other self-esteem issues pale to insignificance as long as I stay true to who I am.


  3. I suppose my writing self esteem is slightly lower than my regular self esteem, but I'm okay with it. I believe in my self and know that I'm pretty cool in both aspects, but I also know I haven't done everything I want to do in life or writing, so I don't like to have an inflated sense of self either.

  4. Can't we have middle level self esteem? Both my writing self esteem and regular self esteem fluctuate day to day. Though my writing one probably fluctuates more, especially when I'm reading a great book. ;)

  5. My writing self-esteem is definitely higher than my personal self-esteem because I fake it.

    I have to. If I didn't, I'd be a crumbling groveling mess.

  6. Yep, agree with Stina. I take it day by day. For example, right now, I'm feeling great as a writer, not so much as a person. Hopefully, that nice middle ground will arrive soon :D

  7. What an interesting blog topic. For me, it changes with the day in both regards. For example, when I finish a draft I'm flying high and feeling awesome. Until I read it again.:)When I go on sub I have high hopes, until the R’s roll in. In real life, it def depends on the day. Also, I find it's related to what I accomplish. If I'm productive and have something to show for the day (whether tangible or just a good day overall), my self esteem is higher - it feels like I'm doing what I set out to do. On those days where basic survival is the only way to get through - not so much. Great post.

  8. No offense to you, dear Sarah, but the last thing I want to think about right now is my self esteem.

    I can tell you this. My writerly self esteem and my overall self esteem are pretty level with one another. Neither are very good. Meh.

    I'm itching to see what more you say on Friday.


  9. I think I tend to underestimate myself in regards to talent. On the other hand, I must have some sense of confidence, or I wouldn't have challenged myself to go to med school, learn horseback riding (on ex-racehorses!), travel to Europe, Israel, Australian, and New Zealand, AND attempt the writing game. So, yeah, I don't know, LOL!

    Nice post!

  10. I think my self-esteem often depends on external factors. I know that's not ideal, but it's an honest answer.

  11. i have a slippery grasp on the whole concept of self-esteem. but i kind of think of it in comparisons. and i guess, honestly, i would place most people ahead of me...

    but i think that it's a weird thing to try to quantitate, because i would really say that everyone is equal, just with different strengths, and what strengths i value the most would slide them up and down on my level of esteem... does that make sense?

    anyway, as far as writing goes,i feel like most bloggers i encounter are far more talented and educated than i am, but i'm working hard to improve! :)

    and honestly, external forces do influence the way i view myself and my writing. i mean, sometimes we get so close to our work and our lives we can't see things clearly, so external opinion is very valuable! :)

  12. Uh oh. This feels like one of those dangerous, introspective kind of questions... "Squirrel!" *Points out window and escapes through back door*

  13. My self-esteem as a writer is pretty low because I haven't reached mastery yet. However, my overall self-concept is pretty high (not to the point of cockiness, but I think I do pretty well in my normal life). Great post!

  14. Interesting question about self-esteem as a writer being different than in other areas. My self-esteem has been fairly low much of my life, but as a writer and especially once becoming a published author, it has risen considerably!

  15. My self esteem has been high most of my life. I suppose it can be labeled as healthy/high. I generally feel good about myself, but not to a narcissistic point. My self esteem does change at times depending on both internal and external factors, mostly internal. If I have gone through a bad breakup or the loss of a job or if I lose a trial, I do not feel as good about myself. My ability to recognize these contributing factors as temporary setbacks allows me to bounce back quickly.

    I do not have as much self esteem as a writer. I suppose it is because I am unpublished so I do not feel as accomplished in this area. It is not low, it is just not as high. I feel better on days when I do well in my writing. If I complete a rough draft or come up with a cool idea about a story then my self esteem as a writer goes up a notch.

    Overall, I think I am in the normal-healthy range for both.