Sheryl R. Hayes

Figuring out writing one word at a time.

Self-Assessment, Or A Reminder That I’m Human

I suck at self-assessment.

Case in point. I’ve been under more-than-usual levels of stress since November.  I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I should be, and now my health is paying the price. Despite getting my normal levels of sleep, making sure I ate, and stayed well hydrated while at FOGCon, I developed a rip-roaring case of the dreaded con crud.

Con crud, if you’re not familiar with the term, is the nasty cold that you catch post-convention.  Mine is a doozy, but I’ve had much worse. No problem, I thought.  I would take Thursday off of work, sleep it off, and be back on Friday.  Friday night, if I was up to it, I’d go to Silicon Valley Comic Con.  I would definitely be there Saturday.  I spent all day Thursday resting up.

Friday morning I felt good enough to go back to work.  I was at my desk at 8:00 AM.  Within ten minutes, three people said that I sounded horrible and I should go home. As I sat there, I could feel my energy flagging.  I left at 8:45 and went home.  I went back to bed and woke up around 3:00 PM in the afternoon.  I was sure that if I could sleep it off, I’d be able to go to Silicon Valley Comic Con on Saturday.  And I held onto that belief, until 8:30 PM when I called it a night and didn’t bother to set an alarm.

The same could be said about my writing.  I participated last weekend at FOGCon’s writer’s workshop.  I walked into it absolutely certain that my story was broken.  I knew there were problems in it that I needed to address, but I could not see what they were for the life of me.  I was sure that the advice would be trunk it and write something else.

The feedback I received was extremely positive. According to them, the underlying premise is sound.  There were several suggestions where the story needed strengthening as well as places where the plot could be tweaked, but nothing was unfixable as I feared.  Again, my assessment was way off-base.

So how do I become more accurate in self-assessment?  I really don’t know.  I obviously think I should be capable of more than I am on a physical level.  Also that my writing isn’t as bad as I fear it is.  For the moment, I’m going to have to remind myself of that every time I start to think otherwise.  Hopefully in the future, I will have a better way to assess what’s going on.

2 Comments

  1. Part of the problem might be rejection is hard to take and you believe it too much and forget it is one person’s opinion. J.K. Rowling was rejected how many times? Believe in yourself.

  2. Face it, you are transitioning into a new phase of existence as a writer. Your material does not suck! When we all start out learning, we get so used to being chewed up at workshops that it’s hard to believe when they say positive things. Once you get over this awful cold that’s going around, you’ll see things clearly.

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