• Cara Cilento

What Does Sense Of Self Mean To An Winning Author

Updated: May 26, 2021

I’m not bragging, but I am an award winning author. I won the 2019 Bronze Living Now Award in Sexuality and Femininity for my first self-published book of poetry. It’s a big deal, right? I thought so. Especially since the book is so personal. The book lets the reader watch as I develop my sense of self. It’s pretty damn good, I must say. It’s so good my wife, who I met after the book was published, says I was the only woman that came with a manual. She knew what made me hurt, what made me happy, but most of all she knew who I was.

My award winning book is available here: Say Cheese! The World is Watching

What Does Sense of Self Mean?

Your sense of self refers to your perception of the collection of characteristics that define you. What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you believe in? What can you do well? Or not well at all? Personality traits, abilities, likes and dislikes, your belief system or moral code, and the things that motivate you — these all contribute to your sense of self as you identify as a unique person.

How To Develop A Sense of Self

If you don’t have a clear sense of self, it may be hard to know what you want in life. That can feel crummy. So how do you develop a sense of self? Pay attention to your details. If you don’t know them, spend some time alone to focus on yourself. Or, broaden your horizons if you are unsure of what your likes and dislikes are. Try new things. Make a list of all the things you like and don’t like. Then, make a list of your negative aspects too. Once that is done, you can define yourself by your beliefs and assets. Set your boundaries. Strive to align your life with your list and set goals. Because everyone needs improvement, right? Where would we be without personal growth?

What It Means To Have Developed A Sense of Self

Being an author, award winning or otherwise, means you need to have the courage to leave your sense of self on the page. I took that line from my sons’ wrestling mantra of “Leave it all on the mat.” For them, it means give it your all. To an author, it means give it your all and let their confidence pull them through. Trust me, I lost a lot of friends and I had a ton of family disengage because they don’t agree with things I write but there is nothing more exhilarating than standing in your truth, especially when others try to tell you what your truth should be.

What Does Sense of Self Mean To An Author?

In order to write a good book, you have to know who you are. Your sense of self needs to be strong so you can develop characters who also have a strong sense of who they are. How can you write about a character with likes and dislikes but don’t know what your own are? How can you make a character stand firm in their beliefs if you don’t stand in yours? Too many times authors express themselves only to earn criticism from readers, agents and their families. It’s easy to respond by ignoring your sense of self and reshape your work into something more easily accepted. The choice to do so is always in the hands of the individual, but without a firm sense of self where would we be in the literary and art world? We would not have award winning authors like Audre Lorde or trailblazing filmmakers like Barbara Hammer. The arts world would be very bland and common. So, be who you are. Leave it on the page. Take the risks. In the end, it will be worth it.

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