Lack of ConfidenceIn the online community of writers I have come across a lot of people who lack confidence in their writing. I understand what that is like because when I was starting out I felt the same way. And I am sure many of you know what it is like to...
-Hold on to your writing and not let anyone else see.
-Finally give up your writing but then spend the whole time worrying that the person will hate it.
-Never hear any of the positive feedback because you are fixated on the negative.
-Feel like there is not point to being a writer because you aren't perfect now.
I spent many years going through all this. Of course it probably did not help that I did not like myself much and so found it easy to put myself down. But I learned some important things in life that helped me not just in life but in my writing too.
Recently I read two posts that got me thinking about this subject in depth. If you missed these - you should take the time to read through them:
Sticks and Stones on Rookie Scrivener
Are Your Efforst Unique or Do You Blend by Jody Hedlund
There Is HopeMany of you know about The Insecure Writers Support group that posts once a month about their insecurities. I almost joined it once until I realized one thing - I am not an insecure writer. I used to be, but I grew out of it. So all of you out there that still struggle with having faith in yourself as a writer - there is hope.
Being ConfidentI am sure by now you are wondering how I did it. Well, the road was long and hard for me. But the concept was simple.
There are only three people in the world whose opinion matters to me: My God, My Husband, and Myself. Nothing else matters.
Saying it is one thing. But living it is another. Once you achieve this state of mind you will be amazed at the freedom, courage, and confidence it gives you.
Now I mentioned that the road was hard. Especially in writing. So here are a few tips that I used to develop a strong enough confidence in myself to stop basing my self image on what others thought.
- I spent time getting to know myself as a writer. Learning my voice and being comfortable with it - without any external influence. - This meant that I did not read much and I did not give my work to others to read. I just wrote and wrote and wrote until I understood who Krista the Writer was.
- I learned to focus on the positive when I received feedback. This does not mean that I ignore negative feedback. But what I do is I read through feedback and sort it into negative and positive. Then I read just the positive again. Ending with the good helps it stick in my mind.
- I stopped comparing myself to other writers. This was hard because it is natural. I learned to read novels with an eye to enjoy and to learn. If I caught myself comparing myself I gave myself a little time out. There will always be someone better. There will always be someone worse. In the end comparisons don't help you learn anything.
- I don't take it personally when someone critiques my work. Of course I still feel disappointing that my work isn't perfect. But I also love to grow and learn. If you are perfect there is no room for growth. I try to look at feedback from the point of view of - how can this help me grow?
- And last but not least - If all else fails - ignore them. Some people are bound to think differently then you. That is what makes life interesting. Wouldn't it be boring if everyone thought and felt exactly the same! So if you don't agree with someone else's opinion - it is okay to ignore them. Or of course - to voice your own opinion.
So to you, the writer who feels like the words you writer aren't worth anything, I say - THEY ARE! Just because you wrote them! They may never be published, or even seen by someone else. But they matter because they are your words. At the very least by writing them you learned something.