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I recently sat through an entire day of training offered by the Boy Scouts of America. It was training to teach me how to train others to do their jobs more effectively (titled, appropriately, the Trainer's EDGE). There was much taught there that also applied to public speaking. Though I've never been nervous in front of people (trust me, I routinely make a fool out of myself in front of large groups of Scouters and their families, plus I spent my entire childhood/teen years singing in front of full auditoriums), it was enlightening to listen to some of the dos and don'ts they suggested when addressing large or small crowds.
(My favorite part of this training, however, was making and flying paper airplanes. Man, BSA is my kind of organization. Those people know how to have fun.)
Anyway, one thing listed in the training session was: don't apologize for the things you don't do right or well.
I got to thinking about this phrase, and how appropriate it is for writers, too. There have been many times when I've handed a manuscript to my crit buddies and apologized for all the missing parts and rough edges (and I've even been guilty of doing this when handing something to my agent, too). I am embarrassed that it's not perfect, so I make excuses. I have that debilitating disease called "I'm-No-Good-itis."
I am trying to overcome my I'm-No-Good-itis, but it's hard work. It's easy to second-guess yourself, especially in a business where subjectivity rules. One email may say your book is outdated and will never sell, while another uses the word "love" and "offer" in the same paragraph. But we shouldn't ever feel like we need to apologize.
Let me say that again.
We shouldn't ever feel like we need to apologize.
On the other hand, however, I do know a few authors who have the opposite problem: Big Head Syndrome. I hope I'm never one of those people who think my opinion should be revered and that the masses should bow down to me whenever I grace their presence. Humility and I'm-No-Good-itis aren't the same thing, and a little humility never hurt anyone. I'm just sayin'...