Friends, we need to talk about something. I left a writing group for women writers last night after a mod messaged me about how people were annoyed by my “constant flood” of posts. I’ve been thinking about why this bothered me so much, and I think part of it goes back to how society views women who talk about their work.
Women must downplay their accomplishments or it will come off as bragging. In fact, sometimes I find myself consciously making sure I space out sharing my bylines on social media, and almost immediately, the fear and guilt sets in. Am I bragging too much? Will people think I’m conceited? It’s such a knee-jerk reaction in its intensity — one that women have had to deal with for centuries.
We’re taught to be humble, to be self-deprecating, to downplay our achievements. Any amount of pride we display borders on excessive. To say “Look, I did this and I’m proud of myself” is practically a sin. I’ve never liked the cult of competition that results from this. Because this whole writing thing isn’t a competition! There’s room for all our words, all our stories and all our voices. This business is cutthroat enough and we should be building each other up and cheering for each other every step of the way. I’m here to support other writers, not tear them down.
I’m definitely not trying to brag by posting my bylines. I share because I genuinely enjoy connecting with writers — to support, life up and help each other.
I personally LOVE it when other women writers are open, honest and transparent. I want to hear their stories. I want them to start lots of conversations about our profession. I want to see them succeed. The more we talk and share, the better! I’ve always hated the idea that writers are in competition with each other. So, WOMEN WRITERS, remember that we need all your voices. Please don’t hold back. I promise there’s enough space for all of us!!
I absolutely love being a freelance writer. It’s exciting and magical, but it’s also hard. People see the byline and shiny finished product, but they don’t see all the behind-the-scenes: The planning and pitching, the awful drafts, follow-ups, waiting, waiting. That’s sort of why I’m so open about the whole process — just like I’m open about suicide and life with a disability. To show the human side that people don’t always see and so other people aren’t afraid to talk about this freelance writing thing either.
So, PLEASE, I implore all the bad-ass women writers out there: Share your work. Toot your own horn. Shout your successes from the rooftops. Don’t. Hold. It. In. When one of us wins, we ALL win! Cheers to us!! I happen to think we’re pretty darn awesome, don’t you??
With that in mind, can you do me a favor? Can you share your favorite piece that you’ve read by a women writer lately?? I want to read and tweet the heck out of it! xoxo
Well-said my bad-ass writer sister!
Melissa, I am in a closed FB writing group with you, subscribe to your blog, and also following you on twitter. I, too, believe when one of us wins, we all do, and have never felt a sense of competition with other writers. In addition to that, I have to say I always feel encouraged and inspired by your posts, and always learn a lot from them, from how to keep submitting to where to submit to ideas about life and how to live. I have always seen your posts as sharing info, not as bragging. And in our group I see you as a cheerleader, inviting others to post their accomplishments. And if you had a lot of posts— that only impressed me with how hard ( and fast!) and relentlessly you work and encourages me to work relentlessly and hard also. You are one of my new favorite writers to read and learn from, which is why I signed up for your blog and followed you on twitter. Having said all this, i must also say I agree with you that women should speak up about their accomplishments more.