Confidence in writing propels itself to the top of the list of most writers’ “items necessary to write.” Confidence may wax and wane, affected by experiences outside the writing sphere. Confidence may fall flat on its face, paralyzing great writers. Confidence may be reborn in many ways, often dissimilar to previous confidence recoveries. Writing confidence plays a huge role on how far you’re willing to go as a writer.
Fear stands as the primary confidence-sucker. I note, often, the correlation between fear and procrastination. One of the crazy aspects of all this confidence-shaken-writer mentality is that many writers suffer from the malady. That’s why we struggle so much to accomplish our work.
Often, a lack of confidence will affect our ability to choose something else to write about. This is especially true once you finish writing a good book. You wonder, “Can I do that again?” You know you’ll never recreate that same book, it’s already written. You don’t want to copy it, even if you’re writing a series. You feel pressure. Fear creeps in. The longer you wallow in fear, the tougher your struggle to regain your mojo.
There are quite a few people who tout the “fail fast” mentality. What this means to me is, get back on the writing horse and go for it. The sooner you see and feel how you do not die or disappear off the planet, the sooner you may step back into your writing rhythms and hopefully your muse.
Basing your confidence on external measures is a risky business. What you do as a writer when you decide to allow outside factors to totally influence your confidence level is you give away your core confidence. Yes, I realize many writers, myself included, suffer from confidence struggles. Yet, to base your confidence on book sales, critiques, accolades, etc, robs a writer of their truest strength – themselves.
The bottom line is that as a writer, at some point, you must draw the line and forge forward on your own recognizance. You must take the step of growing your ego enough to believe what you have to say is worthwhile – and it is. Finding your market should never be equated with your writing confidence. No matter what level writer you are, there is an audience out there to resonate with you. Finding that audience is marketing. Writing the words is writing. Keep them separate as much as possible.
There are dangers on both sides of that coin mentioned above. Yes, you need to listen to others to grow as a writer, but not to the detriment of your writing confidence. So what if you have a lot to learn? We all do. You can constantly learn something about writing no matter how long you’ve been at it. The other side of the coin is the “over-inflated ego.” You should never be so cocky as to alienate readers and followers who might otherwise pick up your work.
Striking a balance between the two can be helpful, but what I propose has little to do with either. Do you have a fire deep inside? Do you NEED to write? Is writing a book a major player in your “desire” library of the heart and mind? Do you have stories to tell? Life stories? Fiction stories? Self help stories?
You’re going to likely need that underlying fire, that deep down drive, to sustain you through tough times. When I struggle with my writing, this place remains constant within me. This place of determination. This place of ‘hell or high water, I’m writing.’ This place where the heart’s desire pushes back against all the “overwhelm” of the writing life and says, “Dammit, I am going to write!”
I challenge you, the writer, to empower yourself from within. Yes, balance the externals with your ego and fuel yourself along the writing path. But do not forsake your true power, your true worth, as a writer – your heart. Your desire. Your internal drive and wish for achievement. When things get particularly bleak and you’re down on your writing abilities and struggles, access that place within you which propels you forward despite all the travails of the world.
Surround yourself with people who are producing books and progressing. A synergy surrounds people who forge ahead to common goals. Ride the thermals of shared creativity. I see this every week in my private workshops.
Find how to empower your writing and go forth and make it happen.
If you’re looking for help, that’s what I do. I have a five-week program to help you get your first draft written. I am a book coach/consultant and I help writers from the conception of their idea through the completion of their book – first draft, rewrite and edit, and publishing. Email me at Author@MichaelRayKing.com. My client list is limited. At the time of this post, I have room for three more clients. This fluctuates as writers get their books finished and move on. What I teach is “rinse-and-repeat” so that writers may fly on their own as soon as possible. I look forward to working with each and every writer I come in contact with.