Dwarf Appeasing with Self-Pleasing by Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D
“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give the formula for failure—which is: Try to please everybody.” —Herbert Bayard Swope
A writer feared his second novel wouldn’t be a success. He was in a writer’s critique group that didn’t “get” the plot, and it sent him into a tailspin—months of writer’s block and anguished writing. He changed
the plot, forfeiting his own truth in order to please group members.
For those writers among us who are still trying to be a good boy or good girl so everyone will like us and we’ll never be rejected, listen up. People pleasing is a direct result of our writing insecurities and is a poison for authors.
It’s possible to be open and flexible to feedback without compromising the integrity of our work, but the quality of our writing doesn’t depend upon the acceptance or approval of others. If we forfeit our own writing voice to appease the opinions of others, we shortchange ourselves, our writing suffers, and we lose our true identity as an author.
Reflect on a time when you gave your writing self away to someone else’s opinions instead of sticking to your own. How did you feel later? If you were to develop a game plan for future writing challenges around people pleasing versus self-pleasing, what would it be?
When push comes to shove, the key to writing success is to get comfortable with your own writing and please yourself first with your own voice as the final stamp of approval.
From Daily Writing Resilience by Bryan Robinson. © 2018 by Bryan Robinson. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., www.Llewellyn.com.
Bryan E. Robinson is a licensed psychotherapist and author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books. He applies his experiences to crafting insightful nonfiction self-help books and psychological thrillers. His multi-award winning southern noir murder mystery, Limestone Gumption, won the New Apple Book Medal for best psychological suspense, the Silver IPPY Award for outstanding mystery of the year, the Bronze Foreword Review INDIEFAB Book Award for best mystery, and the 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award for best fiction in the Southeast.
His most recent release is Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations and Inspirations for Writers (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He has written for Psychology Today, First for Women, and Natural Health, and his blogs and columns for writers appear in Southern Writer’s Magazine. He is a consulting editor for The Big Thrill, the online magazine for International Thriller Writers. His long-selling book, Chained to the Desk, is now in its 3rd Edition (New York University Press, 1998, 2007, 2014). His books have been translated into thirteen languages, and he has appeared on every major television network: 20/20, Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, NBC Universal, The CBS Early Show, CNBC’s The Big Idea. He hosted the PBS documentary, Overdoing It: How to Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself.