Ladies, Stop Apologizing For Your Writing

I think the grammar Nazis are getting to some of you. You know, those teachers in junior high and high school who drew red road maps around every dangling participle, comma splice, and misspelled word you wrote? Yeah, them. Stop letting those people live rent-free in your head. It’s over. You survived (most of you anyway).

If I had a dollar for every time a female student or client told me, “I’m not a good writer,” I’d be poolside sipping a mai tai right now. But seriously, stop it.  Why do you do this to yourselves? And most importantly, why do you do it to me? Is it because you’re trying to avoid the trauma of reliving the crimson ink of your youth?  Just days ago, before I even opened her Word document, a client who wrote ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY pages said to me, “I’m not a writer.” She repeated it four times. She was apologizing before I even looked at her manuscript. Her manuscript. As if to say, “Oh this ol’ thing?” Just stop.

Most of my former male clients or students who couldn’t string two sentences together with a shoelace would never utter these words to me. They might say the work was incomplete but most would never say, “I’m not a good writer” before I even looked at their work. Why is that? Because men are not taught to undervalue themselves and their efforts. They are taught to take ownership and exude confidence even if they are lost like Alice in Wonderland.

Ladies, let’s not belittle our work and ourselves. Writing well isn’t about avoiding grammar mistakes, or always knowing what we’re doing or where we’re going with our writing. If that were the case, there would be no published authors. Writing is about the practice of writing.

If you’ve committed to the craft of writing, then don’t minimize it. Own it.