“You are the worst writer I’ve ever worked with.” My mentor said that to me. Self-esteem education had not gripped the nation yet. Higher education ascribed to the-I–was-miserable-so-by-God-you-will-be-too-teaching system. At the time, I was trying to write my dissertation on how physical activity effects anxiety and depression and ironically every time I thought about working on my degree I wanted to go to bed.
Here is the take-away my lovely friend. I didn’t listen. I finished my degree and it was like dragging a wet bag of sand up a flight of stairs. While I dragged though, I asked myself why I have so much difficulty writing like a scientist? I am of this world. I teach and communicate for a living. Why am I so bad at this?
Of course now I know why, it’s clear. I am more comfortable writing creatively than writing in a straight forward prescribed way. Make me write a thesis statement and I will put curlicues in it. Ask me to describe a volunteer in my research and I’m likely to comment on her cloudless blue eyes or a smile that made me want to be a better person.
I discovered this by taking a chance. I shoved my mentor’s comments down into a rarely opened lobe in my brain and hauled out my 7th grade English teacher’s encouragements to write a story. Not long after that, I entered a contest. I won a prize. I was able to capture the love that got away. My first love. Writing.
So here’s the tweet: I would not suggest using you suck as a motivational technique but sometimes, you suck can turn into, no I don’t.