You’re thinking…really? I know, as a child of the 80’s, I had a smokin’ body with thanks from plenty of aerobics and sit-ups, well hidden under my two layered shirt, skirt with leggings, and three pairs of socks. Fashion- maybe. Lack of self confidence? More than likely.
Now I look around at these girls, and they’re wearing minimal fabric on their bodies, and I’m not sure they know what a sit-up is. That muffin top roll is prominently displayed for the world to see. But what else do I notice about these girls with muffin tops of all sizes? I notice them walking with their chins up, and shoulders back as if they could care less that my mouth is wide open and I’m shocked at their appearance? They have confidence, oodles of it, and what a beautiful thing.
I think growing up, and growing older, self-confidence is something that has been hard for me to grasp hold of. I can’t even begin to tell you anything I was confident about before I was twelve. In junior high I was a good student. Straight A’s with that one pesky B blocking my perfect GPA. (But just for the record it was an 88%) In high school, I was a good vocalist. In fact, my professional voice coach told me I had a voice of a classily trained opera singer. It usually took 20 years to accomplish that kind of voice and I was 10 years ahead of most people. What I didn’t have was the confidence to carry though.
I never aced an audition, because I didn’t have the confidence to do it my way. I’d take the easy route. I didn’t have the confidence to try things in college or get more involved, because I just might fail if I got that far.
I never submitted my manuscript because someone might just turn it down.
KaBoom! Hit with the grenade of truth!
If you don’t have confidence in yourself, well you’re hiding your muffin top. How can you be a successful writer if you won’t let someone read your work? Guess what. I got shot down, over and over and over again. It hurt. When someone tells you, “This is so bad I wouldn’t even consider it if came across my desk,” you tend to shed a few tears. Or, “If I buy you a box of commas will you use them?” (This is classic. This was a contest and those two comments paired with someone who gave me no comments and a very high score. Helpful, huh?) This tends to make you hide your muffin top under layers and layers of rewrites.
Then one day you decide you’re worthy of the tighter shirt. You have nothing to hide. You attend a local RWA meeting. You get a critique partner, actually two and one happens to be a retired language arts teacher. You learn that you use and a awful lot. You begin to understand that you shift POV much too often. When a critique partner says, “This isn’t making sense to me,” you realize that you haven’t looked at that story. You hid it, because you didn’t want to show it to the world yet. You have to revise.
Once you expose that muffin top, you don’t care who is looking. You push your shoulders back and walk with your chin high. Then you begin to feel the power. That first person asks for a partial manuscript, which leads to a full. You have Beta readers who come back and ask for more. The book becomes reality and people come to you crying because what you wrote moved them so deeply and changed their lives. You become someone asked to attend signings, be on committees, and the glorious part – you’re asked to write more books.
Suddenly you realize you’re showing off your muffin top in a bikini! You’re totally exposed! But your head is high, shoulders pushed back, and you’re feeling that self confidence like you never have before.
So I wonder, who will those girls who bare their muffin tops become? Will they take over the world someday in their tight shirts? Perhaps. Until then, I’ll hide my literal muffin top under a peasant shirt, but keep my chin high, shoulders back, and I’ll keep writing because that’s what I love to do!
POST ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THE WARRIOR PRINCESS ROMANCE WRITER BLOG ON 7/31/11