how to fall in love with yourself

A recurring theme for writers I talk and work with is how to write past the self-judgment that often comes up as we write. If, for whatever reason (and there are lots of them), you struggle with feeling like you don’t have what it takes to become a better writer, instigating a love affair with yourself can help.

When I say “falling in love with yourself,” I’m not generalizing. I’m not saying, “Oh, you know, just tell yourself how great you are and you’ll see. It’ll make all the difference.” That may be true, but my concern here is how to help you fall in love with yourself as a writer, so let’s get specific.

What follows is a series of short, playful writing assignments for instigating the love affair – ways to practice being a better writer, even if you’re not sure you have what it takes. Do them in order, pick and choose, or make up your own. The key is to use the tool of writing to help you fall in love with yourself as a writer.

1. “Dear Abby …”

In the absolute privacy of your journal or computer, write a short letter to Dear Abby, telling her of your struggle to believe in yourself as a writer, and asking for her advice. Sign your letter with a descriptive alias, like “Floundering at the Desk” or “Uncertain in Omaha.”

2. “Dear Floundering …”

Pretend you’re Dear Abby and answer your own letter. Be brief, confident, encouraging, and no-nonsense. You know what this person needs. Get your advice across in a short paragraph or two. Be nice, but don’t sugar-coat.

3. Three Elfchens

In a format so short and prescribed you can’t hide anything – the Elfchen – get soppy. An Elfchen is a type of poem consisting of eleven words in a specific format of words per line: one, two, three, four, and one word per line, in that order, as below. Write three Elfchen love poems as though you’re love-sick about your own writing. Go way, way overboard. Lie, as necessary, to get this assignment done.

of my
heart and soul.
Your beautiful words pierce.

4. Love Letter to a Place

Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt drunk with love for a place – the fort under the brambles, the cabin at the lake, the room overlooking the city, the garden all your own. Keep your eyes closed long enough to bring up the physical sensations and feelings of being in love with that place. Now write a love letter to it. Be sappy, but convincing. Pour your heart out, as though your task is – at any cost, as though your life depends on it – to convince that place to love you back.

Dear Mountain Cabin,

You may not remember me, but I can’t forget you. I’m writing to tell you how much you meant to me … and still do. I can still see the snow sparkling on your roof …

5. Mining Meaning

What means the most to you? See how much you can not filter your answer through any shoulds or expectations others might have regarding what’s supposed to be meaningful. You are your only audience. Just for yourself, name (in one or two words) what’s most meaningful to you and write 400 words about why it’s meaningful and how it came to be meaningful to you.


The goal of these assignments is two-fold: to write – anything, as that’s the primary way we become better writers, and to practice feeling love. More specifically, to practice feeling love in association with writing.

Doubting your writing abilities or prospects means that your internal editor/judge has the upper hand. Doing silly things that the editor/judge doesn’t consider “real writing” is a sneaky way to get it out of the picture for a while, giving you some freedom to loosen up and tune in to the part of you that’s not the editor.

The non-editor, pre-editor part of you that comes to the fore when writing silly assignments like these is always there and always in love with your writing – no matter what. Zero exceptions.


P.S. If you do any of these assignments and are willing to let me know, I’d like that. Even a super short note is fine (“Hi. I did 3 and 5. Bye.”). Leave a omment below, send an email, or use the contact form or send me an email (


Related reading: How to Reinvent Yourself

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