Self Depreciation

5226393606_3696d6e12eSomething I’ve always found myself doing is beating myself up in my writing and often trying to describe myself. I’m rubbish for looking at myself in a positive light since I still see myself as an 8-year old kid wanting to play Nintendo after school.

In my Technical Writing college course, one of the assignments was to detail building a wooden deck. After waiting until the last day to do the 10-page paper, I did the research, and understood why I am not a carpenter.

See? I did it just there.

Anyway, after writing in painstaking detail how to buy tools, the different types of woods used, the footings, different codes and regulations depending on climate, and little details like the spacing between the boards and how far from the house the footings should stand. After writing it all, proofreading it, and reading it out loud to make sure everything sounds right verbally (a neat trick for editing, for when you need another one..) I titled the paper:

“Why I shouldn’t build a wooden deck.”

…And submitted the paper.

The response? “Beautifully written technical document. Except, don’t ever self-depreciate. No one wants to read how you hate yourself. Especially since it’s the title of the paper. If you’re going for humor, it’s failing.”

At first, I was like “Heh..old person.”

Then, I thought about it…I don’t typically like reading stuff like that either… Maybe he’s got a point.

Crap.

I’ve done this forever.

So, I’ve made it a point to not only stop self-depreciating in writing, but be more positive and think of myself in a brighter positive light.

Hopefully, it’ll show in my writing without losing the comedy.

/crosses fingers

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3 thoughts on “Self Depreciation

  1. See, there is a trick to not putting yourself down. You do it because you think, otherwise people will think you are bragging. Or you do it because you think someone will judge you if you seriously care about your work. But you know what? If you act like a pro, people will treat you like one. Think about it. If someone came up and told you “Yeah, I wrote the screenplay for that movie that won a ton of awards, but I mean it was a fluke and I’m not really that good and a lot of people helped me edit it and….” You will stop taking that person seriously. At first you thought, hey, thats cool! But now you just want the person to shut up because if they don’t take their work seriously, why should anyone else? So start taking yourself seriously. Even if you have to lie. “Yeah I worked really hard on this.” will be much more effective than “Well… I mean I did the research but there’s no way I could ever….” Don’t put yourself down. Stand tall and others will have to look up to you whether they like it or not. If you crouch, all you will get is pity.

    • Agree, 100%. I don’t know why I do it..if it’s a defense mechanism for pre-emptive rejection or what… But it’s something I’ve done as long as I remember. I know it’s a problem and I need to focus on thinking positive about myself.
      Thanks for your input! It means more than you may know!
      -Chris

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