I’m in love with writing and, like all relationships worth mentioning, it isn’t always easy.
It’s rewarding, but at times it takes guts. I don’t get to spend anywhere near as much time with my words as I’d like to. People get in the way, I get in the way, things need to be done and the situation is never just right for me and my keyboard to spend some quality time together. Everything gets easier though as I get more settled and more confident in my writing and my relationship with it.
I’m not going to keep stretching out the relationship metaphor, but I am going to tell you that I’ve been terrible at finding relationships in the past. I didn’t know what to do and I lacked confidence from the first impression to the last dance and beyond.
When I began to write as a hobby and a career, I found myself in the same situation. I knew on some level that I was a good writer, but I didn’t know how to convince people, including myself, that I was good. I second-guessed myself, I missed opportunities and clients and I deleted tracts of perfectly good writing, rather than let it be seen by potential critics. All of this because I lacked confidence.
I’d love to start this paragraph by saying “This all changed when…”, but there has been no great watershed moment when I was suddenly filled with newfound certainty. I have learned to tell myself that I’m a good writer and listen to others when they say the same. I have even begun to believe that I am a good writer whose work is worth attention and money. There was no giant leap though, just a series of self-affirming moments and actions combined with the support of others. I would advise other writers to keep reflecting on the good points of their work, even when they are not so obvious. It’s also important to listen to others when they support you and believe them when they complement you. After all, you are your own worst critic.
Keeping Confidence (and a little more of that metaphor)
When you have found your confidence, keep it with you when writing, when pursuing opportunities and when dealing with those who may help you succeed or put you down. I found out the hard way that where confidence is concerned, landing clients is like getting girls (or guys, according to your preference). Very few people notice the timid person in the corner, let alone give them a chance, even if they are the perfect person. The fact is that without a little pluck, a little mettle, no one will ever know you are ideal for them. You can even begin to kid yourself that you don’t have the skills or the experience to be the ideal candidate for anyone. So, nurture your confidence every day by believing in yourself and the words you write.