Bonus Content: The Awesomeness Dossier by Aidan Doyle

From Aidan Doyle's "The Writer's Book of Doubt"

Hi all! Exciting news — for the month of July, Aidan Doyle has given me permission to share a few excerpts with you from his excellent book of essays called The Writer’s Book of Doubt, which contains practical advice and inspiration for dealing with the problems of the writing life. It’s out July 10 and subscribers to the paid version of this newsletter will be getting a 50% off coupon for it!

Today’s essay is about remembering exactly how awesome you are.

The Awesomeness Dossier

by Aidan Doyle

Someone at my new job described me as a ‘human Pinterest board’ the other day and I saved that to my special folder of strange compliments I want to remember forever.

- Laurie Penny

The Awesomeness Dossier is a folder with clear plastic sheets in which I put printouts of things which make me happy about my writing. Positive reviews of my stories. Illustrations that have accompanied my stories. My award nomination announcements. Kind things people have said about my writing on Twitter. Particularly enthusiastic comments from someone critiquing one of my stories. If I get a rejection which particularly stings, the folder is visible proof that my writing doesn’t always suck. I highly recommend creating your own Awesomeness Dossier.

It doesn’t have to be only related to writing. You can include photos of friends and family and happy events. Or favorite cute animal photos. Happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky talks about how she created a savoring album which she takes with her when she travels. “Whenever I travel for business, even for a day, I carry a little photo album that has pictures of my kids at different ages... I look at it a lot—in planes, hotel rooms, and the audience of conference talks—and it never fails to give me a happiness boost. You can create such a savoring/memory album yourself. It can have photos of your favorite people, places, or things—family, friends, pets, famous paintings, etc... Or it can have other happy-inducing or meaningful items—your acceptance letter to college, a love note, a favorite recipe, a niece’s drawing, or an article about your favorite actor. Look at this album on a regular basis but not too often, so as to stave off adaptation to its pleasure. You don’t want the same thing to happen to the items in your savoring album as might happen to a special photo on your nightstand or computer screen; when it’s up for a long enough time, you fail to notice it altogether. This savoring album is essentially a strategy to create and savor the memories (the mental photographs) of your positive experiences. It’s also valuable to review the album in less happy times, when you’re especially needful of a boost.”

Writer Jennika Baines uses a similar technique for her email. “At a former colleague’s suggestion I have an email folder just called Happy where I file emails in which someone says something kind or says thank you or says something else that makes me happy to read. If you don’t have one, give yourself the gift of a Happy folder.”

The Writer's Book of Doubt releases July 10 and you can preorder it here. About the book:

Impostor syndrome. Thinking that your writing sucks. Feeling targeted by the rejection cannon. Despairing that no one is ever going to read your stories. Lost in Submissionland. Overwhelmed by radioactive brain weasels.

The Writer's Book of Doubt contains practical advice and inspiration for dealing with the problems of the writing life.

Illustrated by Kathleen Jennings.

With essays from:

Aliette de Bodard, Delilah S. Dawson, Kate Dylan, Malon Edwards, Meg Elison, Kate Elliott, Lauren Herschel, S.L. Huang, Crystal Huff, Kameron Hurley, Matthew Kressel, R.F. Kuang, Fonda Lee, R. Lemberg, Likhain, Jeannette Ng, A. Merc Rustad, Mary Swangin, Bogi Takács, E. Catherine Tobler, Martha Wells and Isabel Yap.