How many of you talk with confidence about your writing? Writers, in general, are often introverted and struggle to discuss their work. Not to mention, when we do, many of us find it hard to speak with confidence or pride.
Instead, we divert attention away or mumble something incoherently, or sometimes just blurt out bits about our writing and then collapse inwards as if we have no right to feel good about what we do.
So today we’re talking about confidence.
Why you don’t feel confident
It’s no surprise that many writers have little confidence in themselves or their work. Our society has never really put much stock in the “creative arts”.
Those around us, even family and friends, often think that one has to be born into it or have a certain level of “special talent” for anyone to take such a thing seriously.
Yes, some people have incredible, natural talent. But no matter how much natural talent you have, you still need to work hard. And if you don’t have loads of natural talent, well you need to work twice as hard, but that’s okay.
You’re meant to work hard for what you want to do. You are meant to write drivel in your first draft.
Just like when you want to be an Olympic weight lifter, you have to start our with small weights to build your strength.
A blinkered vision
When I was growing up, I heard a lot (from my parents and from other people’s parents) about how pursuing creative careers was ridiculous.
After all, being a writer was not a real job (oh? tell that to Stephen King), being an actor, was not a real job (tell that to Helen Mirren), that being a dancer wasn’t a real job (tell that to Darcy Bussell), being an artist wasn’t a real job (tell that to Jenny Saville).
The fact that there ARE people in the creative industries, doing what they love full time as their permanent jobs, tells us yes, it IS possible and it’s not ridiculous.
Weighed down by negativity
The sad truth is you will always get someone who tells you that pursuing a creative career, such as writing, is a pipe dream.
Family, friends, colleagues and even random strangers who find you online and have nothing better to do, will share their thoughts about you and what you’re doing. Because everyone has a god-damn opinion.
Which means we have to be ready. Armoured and ready to survive that.
Be your own Cheerleader
The simple truth is, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either!
So it’s time to stop putting your work down, time to stop looking at your work as bad, and instead see it as just unfinished. That it’s potential that needs to be worked.
Maybe your work stinks right now. If you’re new to writing, it probably will. Great! Then the only direction you can do is up! We all stink at the beginning. It’s laughable when you look back and read the stuff you wrote from years before.
But then again, remember when you were learning to read? Was hard, right? It took practice and experience to develop until you could read well.
No one would have thought less of you for struggling to read when you were a kid? (I certainly hope they didn’t).
So suck it up, Buttercup. Yes, your work can suck at times, at the beginning and sometimes even if you’ve been writing for a long time. But you are doing great, you are driving forward and you should be damn proud of yourself.
However, being a cheerleader for yourself and appreciating the great things about yourself does not mean becoming arrogant o having rude manners. We are talking about inner confidence.
Dream, Plan, Win
Decide what your dream is. Plan for it. Then go out and get it. Might take a whole lifetime, but that’s ok.
When you dream big, you sometimes need to take risks, accept sacrifices and work hard for a long time.
You will feel disheartened, but this is why you need confidence. So when things wane somewhat, you can keep that little voice in the back of your head whispering positive, motivating words.
Haters be hating
If you have any kind of success, big or small, you may get haters. Or, “jerks” as was the original name for these people.
Hate comes from many places, jealousy, fear, insecurity and so people who feel this, lash out at others. Ignore and keep going. They aren’t worth your time or energy. Save that for yourself.
Affirmations, positive thinking & personal praise
It’s time to start being positive about our writing. If someone asks you about your writing, talk about it confidently. It doesn’t matter how they react, talk about it as if you’re talking to your number one fan.
Get used to being okay with discussing it. One of the reasons I set up #TheMerryWriter game on Twitter was to encourage people to talk more about their work. To share it on Twitter and in doing so have a whole writing community supporting and encouraging them.
If you need some encouragement, pop over to Twitter and join the game. Just follow my profile as I post the questions daily.
Create positive affirmations to repeat every morning and evening. These really work. It’s almost creepy how repeating positive thoughts can really start to sink in and make you feel different.
Remember, if you want people to be interested in your work – talk about it with gusto, with passion and see how infectious your energy and confidence becomes to others.
So, do you talk with energy and confidence about your work? If not, try it now. Leave a comment and tell me what you’re writing about and why the hell you love writing it!