How To Become A Confident Writer

By on October 19, 2016
How To Become A Confident Writer - Writer's

Many writers suffer from a lack of confidence and crippling self-doubt, and while it is important to be aware of how good your writing is, often this inner critic can be very destructive. There is certainly a difference between wanting to improve, to learn to widen your readership and continue to be successful, and being so afraid and worried that you’ll never get anywhere, that you’ll be rejected or ridiculed, or never be able to live up to your own standards that you don’t even try in the first place.

Being concerned that your writing isn’t good enough it certainly not the same as it not being good enough. In fact, many famous writers suffered from the same anxieties.

Stephen King said “Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

Sylvia Plath said “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Charles Bukowski said “You are better off doing nothing than doing something badly. But the problem is that bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.”

You get the picture.

So how do you overcome self-doubt and become a confident writer?

Here are some practical tips.

Stop aiming for perfection

Your writing doesn’t have to be good at first. In fact, it is more than likely to be pretty bad. What you must remember is that not all brilliant writers were born that way. It’s all about practice, experimentation and good old fashioned perseverance. The most important thing to do is get those words out and down on paper. You don’t have to show them to anyone, just write your story down. Once the bare bones of a story are all laid out, you can start the real work, shaping, adding, editing, scoring out whole chapters and starting again. Your first draft of something is just that - a first draft, and it might look nothing like your finished piece. But unless you write that first draft you won’t get anywhere at all.

Read lots of books

Books are study guides for writers. Reading lots of books is a fantastic way to improve your skills and learn different writing techniques. You can see who inspires you, see who influences you, and also see who doesn’t float your boat at all. I have struggled through some incredibly famous and celebrated books and simply haven’t ‘got' them. No book will be universally loved so understanding that whatever you write won’t be either can help you feel more confident about sharing it with the world.

Practice every day

You can’t expect to get better at writing unless you actually write. Practice makes perfect so make sure you keep on practising. If you finally pluck up the courage to write and then wait another month before you do it again, you are going to be faced with the same struggle each and every time. Make it a habit, make it normal, and soon it won’t feel so scary anymore.

Share your work

Every single writer gets rejected. So bite the bullet and share your work with others. If you join a writers group or writing class you’ll know that everyone is in the same boat, everyone is nervous and so it is more than likely people will be kind. However, you’ll also get some constructive criticism too which will help you to improve your work further.

Take comfort in the numbers

Being successful isn’t necessarily to do with being good. When it comes to creativity there are so many talented people in the world; some get recognition for their talents, and some don’t. You might write a groundbreaking book however if it doesn’t get read by the right publisher or doesn’t get seen by the right people you may only sell and a handful of copies and you may end up completely heartbroken and convinced you are a terrible writer.

Unfortunately, all writers need to be prepared for the fact that they may never become bestselling authors - but writing is still something amazing, that can bring us great satisfaction and joy - so if writing is what you love, do it with confidence, and you never know where it might take you!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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