I’ve touched on gender issues in writing before but here’s a slightly different take on the same subject. What if the gender imbalance at the top of the literary tree – the higher proportions of men in the high-kudos publications and on the prize shortlists – is because women are more emotional?
A prickly subject. Even as I type it I can envisage women across this glorious web of electrons getting ready to beat me down with a rolling pin (and I use the domestic imagery not to bait anyone further, but in an attempt to soften the ground with a little ironical humour). Sisters, I’m with you. Nothing is more infuriating than to have one’s righteous position undermined by a reference to one’s biology. To have one’s justifiable emotional outburst greeted, for example, with “Time of the Month?”
But hear me out. Our culture inculcates men, from an early age, with the idea that emotions are a sign (or cause) of weakness and vulnerability, and most men learn to shut down a majority of their emotions with considerable effectiveness. Women, on the other hand, are generally more emotional creatures: we share our feelings with our friends; we indulge them, both privately and publicly. But our emotional natures work to our disadvantage when it comes to seeking success.
Let’s say, for example, that a man has a twinge of fear about putting his work in front of an editor, who may or may not accept it. It is only a twinge. He over-rides it. He is a man, after all, and subject to his cultural conditioning: men are brave, courageous, they do not buckle in the face of fear. They go to war, they face death; submitting this piece of writing to an editor is no big deal. He sends it off.
Let’s say, now, that a woman has a twinge of fear about putting her work in front of the same editor. She notices it, and it grows; it is now more than a twinge. Actually, she thinks, I’m really frightened. The more she thinks about it, the more she indulges in that emotion, the bigger the fear gets. She thinks, maybe I’m right to be afraid. I’m an intuitive person; maybe this is the wrong thing to do. Maybe if I submit this, and it isn’t good enough – and now I’m thinking about it, it probably isn’t – the editor will note me down as someone of lesser ability and I’ll have completely blown my chance of ever being taken seriously. Better not send it to them. I’ll send it to somewhere smaller, safer. She doesn’t send it anywhere.
That’s an example using fear, but the same scenario prevails for shame, guilt, self-deprecation, unhappiness. We women are simply more practiced at indulging disempowering emotions, and men are more practiced at over-riding them. The only “negative” emotion that men tend to feel comfortable expressing or indulging in is the empowering one: anger.
But there is a gentle (feminine) revolution on its way, and the key to this revolution is liberation from our emotions. In the last few years, truly effective processes have been developed which allow a person – if they so wish – to neutralise fear and self-doubt as they arise and begin living their full potential. This is what I have begun to experience since learning one of these processes and those to whom I have taught the process are beginning to experience the same profound breakthroughs. One fine student, who I hope will soon be telling her success story on this website, recently clinched a six-figure two-book deal from her first novel.
Imagine what it would be like to live with complete confidence in your own worthiness and a trust in your ability to achieve the successes you desire.
I’m looking to gather together a small circle of women writers who are looking for a major breakthrough with their writing: whether that means breaking through a writing block, clinching a major book deal, or just stepping up to the next level. Contact will be via web/phone, so location is not an issue, but to ensure everyone gets the maximum value, places are limited. You would need to be a committed individual who is prepared to invest a little time and money in yourself in order to change your life permanently for the better, and be prepared to work with me and the group over an eight week period, starting in September. If you think this might be you, and are interested in knowing more about the Writing Success Mentoring Circle, get in touch.