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Writing and Self-empowerment: A Collaborative New Series of Essays with Vocal Creator Mackenzie Davis

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By Cendrine MarrouatPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
Photo credit: Cendrine Marrouat - creativeramblings.com

Like every kid enrolled in a public school in France in the 1990s, I started learning my second language in sixth grade.

English was the bane of my existence for several years. No matter how hard I tried, I could not learn anything. My grades were terrible.

Something changed during the summer preceding 10th grade. My mother, who taught math in high school, bought me a few magazines in English, as well as the entire BBC Learning English collection. I started reading and studying the language at my own pace. English became the first love of my life, one of my strongest subjects in high school, and the object of my six-year studies at university.

My relationship with English has shaped my career in many ways. I would not be the (healthy) self-confident creative I am today without the challenges I encountered during my first years as a learner. Many of those came in the form of naysayers.

One was my eighth-grade teacher, who once told my parents that if I ever were fluent in English, he would become a priest. There was also a professor during my freshman year who mocked me publicly when I talked about my desire of being an English professor.

Instead of traumatizing me, those experiences invigorated me. They prompted me to take action and be my own champion. They taught me that if I worked hard and consistently, treated myself with respect, and refused to let others define my path, nothing and no one could ever stop me.

I may not be a household name for 99.99% of the world, but those guiding principles have allowed me to achieve more in my field in 20 years than many people in a lifetime. And, to me, it is the best definition of success.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I see too many writers waste their time seeking validation from others or taking things personally when they read negative comments about their work.

There is a simple explanation for it: Lack of self-esteem.

Writers are among the least self-confident people on the planet. And it is not always our fault. For decades, we have been brainwashed into thinking that the creative path is a terrible career choice, that we should not expect compensation for our work, and that only books published traditionally are considered worthy of reads.

And yet, rarely have we been encouraged to ask ourselves why we feel so compelled to write and why studying this "why" (without judgment) will truly help us understand our creative process--and who we are in the long run.

Vocal Creator Mackenzie Davis and I recently decided to come together to craft a series of essays that deal with that particular theme. Our goal is to help creators start an uplifting inner dialogue, get past potential roadblocks, build their self-confidence, and take their work to the next level.

We already have a few ideas, but we still need your suggestions. What are some rarely covered topics that you would like us to address? Questions that you have always wanted to ask? We are all ears (and eyes)! ;-)

Mackenzie and I hope to get started in October, so plenty of time to get your questions in!


Cendrine Marrouat is a writer, photographer, podcaster, blogger, anthology editor, and the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms and A Warm Cup of Cozy. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 books, including The Train: A Short Story (2023), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020), Walks: A Collection of Haiku (2019-2020), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018).

Cendrine's work has appeared in many publications. She is the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, and Reminigram; as well as the co-creator of the Kindku, Pareiku, Vardhaku, and Hemingku.


About the Creator

Cendrine Marrouat

Writer & Author⎜Photographer⎜Artist⎜Co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms / A Warm Mug of Cozy⎜(Co-)creator of literary forms

"The Train: A Short Story" is out!

Website: https://creativeramblings.com

Donations: https://ko-fi.com/cendrineartist

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (14)

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  • Teresa Renton5 months ago

    This is a great idea for a collaboration! These are discussions worth having and exploring. I’ll enjoy reading. I’d have to have a think about topics though; many obvious ones have been covered extensively but a new take can be useful. Interesting ones are: How to read as a writer; how do I know whether I’m a good writer (or potentially a good writer)? How to give constructive feedback so that it helps both a writer as well as yourself—what to look out for, what to pick out.

  • Maureen Y. Palmer5 months ago

    Yes, lack of self-esteem is such a huge problem!! Really looking forward to this essay series!

  • Naveed 5 months ago

    writing skills are truly impressive

  • ema5 months ago

    Hi! I'm interested in knowing your opinion, and experience, on the advantages and disadvantages of new media on authors. Today you don't need to have a traditional publisher behind you to become a writer, however the many means available, including social media, often offer “too easy” a means for publication. Sometimes everything is written and published, and this all mixes and confuses, with no boundaries between what is fiction and what is more like blog posts or personal diaries. The point is that everything we publish affects our image as authors, and it also affects other people's perception of our work, for better or for worse. If it is easier to experiment and reach the public, on the other hand excessive exposure can be harmful to our self-esteem, especially when we publish pieces written in one go, without paying too much attention to them and these are the easiest pieces to attack. While the fear of being judged should be overcome, I believe it becomes more difficult when we expose ourselves in an exaggerated and unnecessary way. Writing techniques aside, I believe that an author who wants to become a professional distinguishes himself from others by the care he puts into what he publishes and must sacrifice a bit of what he writes and thinks by selecting the works, (not the genres or the forms of writing for which I believe it is best to experiment). This perhaps allows us to protect our work and accept constructive criticism, as well as save the energy to defend it in the face of useless attacks. But maybe it's just my idea🙄

  • Judey Kalchik 5 months ago

    Many writers get discouraged when friends and family don't/rarely/never read their work. It would be interesting to see that tackled.

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    This is interesting. I'm looking forward to what you and Mackenzie. I can't think of any questions/suggestions right now. I may as the series progresses.

  • Mesh Toraskar5 months ago

    This sounds so exciting!! So looking forward to this. I'll be back with some suggestions. Can't wait :)

  • Jazzy 5 months ago

    This is such an amazing idea and I can’t wait to see what you put together!

  • ema5 months ago

    Great idea! I have some questions and wish to give a little contribution, next days I will organize my thoughts. P.s. So your ex English teacher is a priest now? 😂

  • Test5 months ago

    Great ideas need great technical writing skills, and vice versa. It is sad to see great concepts not realized due to the need for more experience in various writing approaches (be it poetry or fiction). It is equally sad to see great writing with no heart or depth in it. How does one balance the two to get the best synergy of both? How does one learn to dig deep and communicate creative and heartful concepts without becoming formulaic in one's writing?💙Anneliese

  • Rachel Deeming5 months ago

    Cendrine, you are an inspiration. Can't wait to read yours and Mackenzie's collaborations.

  • Donna Renee5 months ago

    I look forward to reading, as far as suggestions…I’ll have to think on this! It is depressing to see authors putting others down for having big dreams (I see this in some writing groups, not here on vocal)

  • Dana Crandell5 months ago

    Well stated, Cendrine and congratulations on making the negative comments work for you.

  • Mackenzie Davis5 months ago

    Yay! So excited to get started on this project with you, Cendrine. ❤️

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