Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Be Who You Think You Are

A couple years ago I went to a Sunshine Lodge Writing Retreat. The entire weekend was amazing and filled with dozens of empowering moments (not to mention an uptick in my word count).

Saturday evening of the retreat, we drove down to the restaurant at the nearby Sundance Ski Resort. The event coordinator had called ahead, reserving a larger table in the back for our group of writers. I was having a ball drinking in the stunning view and fancy restaurant, so I was last to file past the waitress and waiter standing at the entrance to the back room. I gave a happy smile to each as I walked past them, then was surprised to hear the waitress whisper to the waiter, "Who was that?"

"Dunno," he replied in a hush.

I moved for a chair, stunned.

Did they think I was somebody famous? Maybe they were just buttering me up for a better tip. Why would they think either?

As I thought about it, I think I came up with the answer: I was acting like someone important.

Through my writerly studies, I've learned from others writers that it's important to act and even dress professionally. Sure you can bum around in a t-shirt and jeans, but if you tried that in a professional workspace, it wouldn't fly. So consequently that night, I was dressed in nice jeans, a button-up shirt, sweater vest, and leather shoes (a wonderful neighbor with excellent taste gave me the shoes--I feel like a casual CEO when I wear them). My beard was well trimmed (a necessity for facial hair). I had on my best watch (a $25 Father's Day present from the Avon catalog, but it looks AWESOME), a silver Celtic braid wedding band ($10 from an incense shop), and my college ring (looks like it has a huge rectangular ruby with a diamond on top). When I dress up like this, I feel like Writer-Man, superhero writer.

So what? Who cares?

I care and so should you. Why? For two reasons:

First: everything I was wearing gave me self-confidence.

It may sound silly, but human beings really are affected by what we wear. For instance, I felt dressed up, which oddly enough, made me feel relaxed. I didn't have to worry what others thought about what I was wearing because I was putting my best foot forward. That took a LOT of emphasis off of me, giving me the opportunity to be myself.

Second: what I was wearing told others that I was serious about my work.

If you want someone to take you seriously, do you wear raggity clothes and don't shave? If you are asking for a raise, would you do it in a clown suit? No, you wouldn't. So don't broadcast that message to those around you--and even more importantly--to your self.

And So...

Try dressing up a little. Business casual should work if you normally slouch around in jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe NICE jeans and a t-shirt if your default is pajamas (just saying). Take yourself seriously. Get the self-confidence that makes others wonder who you are. You'll be glad you did.


  1. Yes, whatever bolsters confidence should be done. Glad you felt your power. It's important.

  2. Well said. We should be professional if we take writing seriously.
    And welcome to the IWSG!

  3. Welcome to IWSG! Yes, dressing the part is essential. I'm always in a better mood when I'm dressed to tackle the day, whether it be in front of my computer at home or at my day job! Kudos to you!

  4. Tony, that's awesome. Way to be a rockstar. :)

  5. I love this tip. Fake it till you make it mentality. I will think about it the next time I am at a conference or signing. Thanks.


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