Show me some attitude.


 Is it a good thing or a bad thing? And what kind of attitude should we have as writers? Let’s see what happened on Idol this week.

Two differents contestants made it quite clear that there is a right attitude and a wrong attitude when it comes to being professional and pursuing your dreams.

Contestant One: Sulky guy.

       This guy had to wait in the rain in Boston all day. And the longer he had to wait the more sulky he became. He scowled. A lot. And it was evident before he spoke a word that he was not a happy camper or singer. So, finally, when he saw the judges at the end of the day–well, let’s just say he didn’t do so well. He was rude (to Simon of all people). He was fresh. And he didn’t look like he wanted to be there at all. And even worse–he was defensive. 

 Did he get a ticket to Hollywood?   NO.  (And his singing voice wasn’t that bad. But his attitude painted everything from his conversation to his singing.)

Contestant Two: Calm and Composed Girl.

         This girl had to wait all day too. But not in Boston, in Atlanta.  She didn’t come in fawning all over the judges. She was sweet. She was polite. Professional. And she sang well. I don’t think she’ll be the next American Idol, but the judges all said yes. And they commented on her confidence. And that it was a good thing.

What attitude should we have as writers?

Some writers have a bad habit of putting themselves and their writing down, because they don’t want to come across smug or prideful. I realize we all experience the ups and downs of writing. You can experience a down time and still have confidence.

But confidence is much different than pride. When you are talking to agents, editors, other writers, fans, future readers on the phone, in person or online, it’s all about one thing. Being a professional. And part of that is being confident.

I have a bigger question. How does confidence or lack of confidence affect your writing – the words you put on the page?  Does it? (I think so.)

So go out there and get you some confidence. How? I’m not really sure. Any ideas?

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9 Responses to Show me some attitude.

  1. Catherine A. Winn January 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    When I started out my attitude/confidence was nil. My work was too wordy trying to get my point across. But after studying my craft, working on short stories and learning how to cut, cut, cut, I became more confident with my ability to express myself with the “right” words. Still, though, when I put the stamp on the submission I expect to be rejected for not being “good enough”.

  2. Laura Pauling January 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing. This is an interesting subject. One I’m going to have to think more about. – Laura

  3. Susan January 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    I LOVE the new set up! YEAH You!!

    I was born with attitude, perfected my attitude, gave out my attitude….got married, had children…..GAVE UP my attitude.

    I love you.

  4. Jon Arntson January 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Laura, I got here via Heather Kelly’s blog (Edited to Within an Inch of my Life) and you are one of the few people to have given up on The Book Thief around the same time I did. I read to about page fifty, which is more normal threshold, but I too felt like my expectations were not in line with what I found. Maybe if we both find a free week (ha!), we can start it over together.

    I also apologize for posting this within the bounds of something irrelevant.

    • Laura Pauling January 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

      I don’t know if my expectations were too high for the Book Thief. Or it might have been the narrating style. The story came in bits and pieces and I just couldn’t connect. Should I have to work that hard just to enjoy the ending? Thanks for stopping by. Laura

  5. Heather Kelly January 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Laura– I like the new digs!

    About confidence–my writing definitely improved leaps and bounds when I started really feeling like a writer. I think that if you don’t have the confidence–if you feel like an imposter–then you just can’t improve enough to get to that next step. I think that finding connections with other writers, and knowing that the struggle is normal, and not just because of my own inadequacies as a writer, is super important too.

    As far as attitude–I have to say that I have never met a nicer group of people than those people who write for children (including YA writers in this). Did you go to the NESCBWI last year? (You live in NE, right?) I met the nicest people there.

    And I’m glad that you and Jon connected over The Book Thief comment–fun! (I’m still reading it…)

    • Laura Pauling January 17, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

      I have to agree.Writers are very nice people. Blogging writers are especially welcoming and nice too. And yes, I went to NESCBWI last year. I will be there this year too! It’s right around the corner.

  6. Sherrie Petersen January 20, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Attitude is SO important.
    It also helps to keep your pants off the ground 😉

  7. Laura January 21, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    Ha Ha! I loved that song. I learn so much from watching Idol about being professional, voice, and putting out best foot forward.

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