Another Tumblr ask and answer.
Hi, I was wondering if you could answer how to gain confidence or be more confident about writing. I know that writing every day is a key step, but sometimes I get so unsure about what I want to write that I can’t even write it for myself. Thanks!
I can certainly answer based on my own experience. Keep in mind this is what has worked for me, so it may or may not work for you.
As usual I’ll bold the main points and elaborate on them. If you’re lazy or lacking time (who isn’t?), you can skim over the non-bolded text. Or skip this entirely. I don’t care.
Read (and write) every day.
You’ve already mentioned writing every day. It’s worth noting I read every day. Some days, I don’t get as much reading done as I’d like. But a little work over your long lifespan adds up. Read a bit every day if you can, so you subconsciously pick up new words, strange ideas, different phrases, odd concepts, etc. Making it a habit to read and write daily has helped my confidence tremendously. Reading especially. Books are arguably the best teacher if you’re willing to be a disciplined student.
Do what you can on your own. There’s nothing like conquering the world by yourself to boost your confidence. Of course, ask for help if you need it. But writing requires you to wear many hats and put on many pants alone. Without someone else holding your hand, feeding you food. Just know you’re more capable thank you think.
Wear Write what makes you feel confident.
Heck, wear what makes you feel confident while you’re writing. Write what you know isn’t terrible advice either. Though I wouldn’t stick to writing what you know all the time. If you know what you’re writing about like the back of your hand, you should have a greater command of your subject. Therefore, you should be more confident. If not, the Internet is your best bet. Allow yourself to feel comfortable. Maybe that means having a cup of coffee by your side. Perhaps you’ll put on makeup before heading to your desk. Or you might stick to a genre you love for your first novel. Comfort leads to confidence, at least in my experience. So get comfortable physically, mentally, emotionally. Confidence will follow.
Let yourself fail.
Failure sucks. But fear of failure sucks even more. I want to address the remark you made of being “unsure”. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I wonder if you’re afraid of something. Afraid of failing. Afraid your story won’t be what you hope it will be. Afraid you’re not good enough. Whatever. I want you to fail. I want your story to not be perfect. I want you to feel like your writing isn’t good enough. So long as you use that to your advantage. You failed? Keep failing until you succeed. Your story didn’t turn out right? Write until you make it right. Your writing is nowhere near where it needs to be? Then keep your butt in that chair and work away. Every time you’re rejected, either start on something else or rewrite that story. Send your story into the world as many times as it takes. And never stop learning from your mistakes. It’s not easy failing again and again. But the more you fail, the better off you’ll be from it.
I’m not saying you need to publish a book in order to be a confident writer. But there’s something about seeing your name in print that nothing else can quite rival. I know it isn’t easy. I’ve been there. I’m still there. If I can do it, you most definitely can. Take baby steps. Enter a national or regional writing contest. Then keep at it until you’re accepted for publication. Someone somewhere will publish your story. Or poem. Maybe try your hand in writing a blog post for a business or organization. I’ve done both. Tiny successes like those plant and/or water a confidence seed in your head. If your work is good enough to be printed, you’re on the right path. If you can get something published, you can certainly do it again.
I used to be very paranoid and sensitive. But ever since uni started, I’ve stopped caring about the stupid things and I care a lot less about not as stupid but still senseless stuff. Guess what? I’m more confident today than I ever was before. You’ll just have to take my word on it. Don’t stop caring about everything. But do care less about the not so important crap life throws you. I hope you feel better and more confident as a result.
Happy writing confidently!
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Are you sick of these already? I promise once exams end, I’ll be less of a lazy blogger who complains about lack of time. Key word: promise.