Humility is one of my superpowers. This mention of course is a contradiction, much like the guy who got the humility award at work and wore his badge of acknowledgment for weeks. However, what I mean here is we all have this superpower, inherently, if we choose to access and develop it.
Humility as a writer can go a very, very long way.
Humility was not one of my strongest qualities until a few years ago when I started working for the UW, Madison as an educator and for the local paper as a reporter. I also joined Al Anon, which took what little humility I did have to attend.
Up till a few years ago, (excluding the first 10 years of my vocation as a Social Worker in MPLS) I have been on my own. Since 1989, I’ve been my own boss, in private practice or hired as a private consultant or educator. In that time, I have run successful practices in Minnesota and Wisconsin, trained internationally, authored 11 books; taught in several different settings, and have written freelance for magazines and papers. (For a couple years I even did a quarterly article as a psychic for a national teen magazine, Astrogirl, where I wrote predictions on the stars. Surprised?) I pretty much made my own hours. Feedback came from those who attended my trainings and workshops but never from someone who would be considered a boss or supervisor.
Working at the UW, writing for the local paper and attending Al Anon offered many lessons in humility I could not have gotten elsewhere or on my own.
I have always been open to feedback, guidance and even criticism from publishers and editors. I can attribute my writerly improvements to taking on their feedback and integrating it into my work as a writer.
Still, I was on my own to do what I wanted with their suggestions.
When it came to working for the UW I was unversed at being supervised. My first evaluation was like a foreign language to me. And it disrupted my inner status quo. I have had several lessons in humility writing for the local paper, some which come through simply sitting in on the monthly board meetings, to being accountable to the editor and readers of the paper. I have only developed my skills as an educator and reporter because I have had feedback in areas where I needed to improve. Al Anon is a practice of humility every time I attend a meeting where I listen to stories about our shared humanity. We’re all just fumbling through this life – nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to hide.
Increasing my humility has made me a better human being and most certainly a better writer.
As a writer, humility lets you learn from others; gives you an inherent willingness to learn and grow in your writerly skills. Humility as a writer includes:
Humility shows us how everything is connected to everything and everyone else. Our actions and choices are never isolated.
Our heroes in our stories all have humility. Some more prominent than others. The villain I can reassure you, does not.
Humility begets serenity – a foundation to Al Anon. I’m still teaching through the UW. I am still writing for the local paper (as of this week anyway), and I’m still a proud member of Al Anon. I hope to strengthen this superpower till I can walk anywhere, serenely and joyfully, writing my merry way.
I wish the same for you.