Fun fact: the majority of my blog posts are totally unedited. I don’t even proofread!
Any time I think I’m not confident enough in my writing, I remember this fun fact. Because if I really despised my writing so much, why on earth would I be plastering this online for the whole world to see? And why would I restrain myself from disowning my least favorite stories? Why would I go through the trouble of setting up social media to get my writing noticed?
So here are our nine points for today:
- Show your work to others
- Don’t compare
- Stop trying to please everyone
- Build yourself up
- Listen to mood-boosting music
- Start a Pinterest board
- Remind yourself why you write
- Keep those reminders close to heart
- Remember: you are a writer!
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
9 Ways to be More Confident in Your Writing:
#1: Show your work to others.
Cue the screams of abject terror.
Don’t look at me like that. I know, it’s not fun to share your writing – I don’t like it, either. But – much as it pains me to say it – sooner or later, you’re going to have to share your work.
If you aren’t comfortable letting others read your stories now, how are you going to do it when you want to be published? When you want to be noticed? When you want to be famous? (Etc.)
I know it’s terrifying now, but let’s take a look at the bigger picture. When I made another writer-friend last year, it took a good deal of courage, along with suppressed wishy-washy-ness, to email her something I’d written. I knew it had to be done for two reasons: First, she had only read my old writing, and I felt I needed to prove that I’d grown better. (I didn’t.) Second: I wanted to read something of hers, so I had to get the ball rolling somehow.
Now I feel free to show her even the most drafty of drafts, and I read her beautiful writing at her blog all the time. See how that worked out?
So before you curl up into the fetal position at the idea of sharing your writing: zoom out a little and look at the bigger picture. It seems small, but in the long run, sending your writing to the right person can lead to much stronger confidence.
#2: Don’t compare yourself to others.
Easier said than done, right? It’s true – you can’t just make those comparative thoughts disappear with an animated poof! We have an awful tendency, as humans, to compare ourselves to others. As writers, we look at other books and get a sinking feeling in our stomachs, because our writing doesn’t look like Jane Austen’s. Well, duh: that’s because we aren’t Jane Austen. And that’s okay!
Good news! There is no one way to write!
Look at it this way. Sparkly Christmas lights at night are downright beautiful. Have you ever driven through one of those neighborhoods that goes all-out with Christmas decorations, just to see the lights? We do every year, and it’s absolutely stunning.
And what about those big, well-groomed dogs? Gorgeous. He prances down the sidewalks, his silky hair bouncing in time, like he knows he’s gorgeous.
What do Christmas lights and big fluffy dogs have in common? Nothing! They’re both beautiful, in their own ways. Writing is the exact same way. So embrace your own writing, because it’s beautiful in its own way!
#3: Stop trying to please everyone.
Not everyone will like your book, and that’s okay. It’s physically impossible to please everyone. So what if someone thinks your book is junk? There will always be someone who does love it, who does zone out at the dinner table thinking about your latest plot twist, and who does secretly pray for a sequel.
In the long run, don’t worry about those who don’t like your stuff. They don’t matter, so don’t let their comments get to you! Only those who appreciate your writing deserve to read it.
My advice: don’t write a book that appeals to broad audiences. Instead, write one that can connect to certain people in a special way; this way your book will be more down-to-earth and heartfelt, thus a stronger read. If it helps, try writing your book with a specific person in mind, or make up a fictional reader. What does this person want to see in your story?
#4: Build yourself up … don’t tear yourself down.
Going back to our previous discussion on being our own worst critics: A little healthy pressure is a good thing. This is why deadlines were invented. Just don’t forget to give yourself the freedom to fall short.
Don’t yell at yourself because you didn’t finish your novel by November 30th, and don’t cry for that one scene that just won’t write itself. (That’s me right now.) An intelligent person once told me, “What you need right now is a victory”; man, how right she was!
It’s best to encourage yourself, or “build yourself up,” so to speak; maybe reward yourself with an extra cookie or a splurge on a new pack of Post-It Notes (I have a problem, okay?) when you reach a big milestone.
In essence: cut yourself some slack. You’re not a automatic novel-generating machine (how cool would that be, though?!), and you’re human as can be. “Perfect” does not exist in us. I like to keep that close when thoughts like “My manuscript will never be perfect” cross my mind. If we know that it will never be positively flawless, it’s harder to worry, right? Right! 🙂
The best we can do is our very best. How redundant, but oh-so true.
#5: Listen to mood-boosting music.
I have several playlists for the best happy, confidence-boosting songs I could find. There are probably some radio stations for the same purpose. Here are my personal favorite songs:
- Every Bit of Lovely (Jamie Grace)
- Brave (Sara Bareilles)
- Gold (Britt Nicole)
- Roar (Katy Perry) [I’m not typically a fan of her music, but she has a good one from time to time!]
- Firework (Katy Perry)
- Confident (Demi Lovato) [There is one colorful word in this song.]
- Who Says (Selena Gomez)
- Beautiful Messes (Hillary Scott)
And Jamie Grace, in general, is probably the happiest artist I know. She writes upbeat and fun worship songs, which are every bit of lovely. 😉 I recommend her music to anyone.
#6: Start a “Confidence” Pinterest board.
Pin uplifting quotes, Bible verses, and inspiring photos to your new board. Call it something like “Confidence,” “Inspiring,” or “Positivity.” Mine is called Confident, Positive, Happy.
Whenever you feel down and out, just reference your Confidence Board for the extra boost you need! It’s fun, but it’s also immensely valuable for your self-esteem and, yes: your confidence!
#7: Remind yourself why you write.
Why do you write?
Do you write for your own health or personal gain? Do you scribble in your notebook with the idea of helping or inspiring others? Do you glorify God with every word you type? Do you write as a means of making end’s meet? Or do you write for your own special reasons?
Once you’ve figured it out, write it down. Plaster it on your corkboard, your bathroom mirror, your laptop; make it your iPhone wallpaper. Turn it over in your mind, remind yourself of it as often as you can.
#8: Keep these reminders close to heart.
1. Your writing is never as bad as you think.
2. Your story only sounds boring and plotless because you wrote it, so you know what happens next. A new reader doesn’t have that problem.
3. You’re so much more confident than you think you are. My mom taught me this a long time ago, and I’ve been embracing my unknown confidence ever since.
[The original post ended here. But I’ve since added an extra point, which is as follows!]
#9: You. Are. A. Writer.
You’re not an “aspiring writer.” If you write, you. are. a. writer.
And that’s that! Claim your title, writer, and wear it with pride! Wave your writer-banner through the air – or, at the very least, wear that really awesome writing sweatshirt you got from Amazon – till everyone knows that you are a writer.
Anything to add? Ideas, questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂
*In regards to writing my autobiography on a Post-It Note: I actually tell people that a lot. I started writing a blog post about it once, out of boredom – I may release it sometime. 😉
6 thoughts on “9 Ways to be More Confident in Your Writing”
Great one, Sam! I appreciate the little story about me and the reference to to my blog! I’ve always loved every exert you’ve sent me… Even the unedited ones!
Also, I love the comparison analogy. At first it seems so random, but in reality its just so true, and very helpful for me, since comparison is one of my biggest pitfalls.
All in all, another great, well-written post that is ultra encouraging. Keep up the good work! (And I’ll be praying for your meeting to-day!)
Thank you for all of that, Makenna!! You’re so encouraging. 🙂 And thank you, again, for the prayers! I’ll be praying for you this week, as well; hoping your surgery goes well! Enjoy the ice cream. 😉
Hi Sam! This is just what I needed to hear, actually! I was feeling (and still am) really down about my book because I’m rewriting book one, and I don’t really have a plot. I need to figure one out soon before I reach chapter six, and I also need to figure out where I’m going to place some of the scenes that I’ve already written. If I don’t think of something soon, I’m going to be in big trouble! Any thoughts on last minute plot…Making ups? Thanks! 🙂
Hey, Aynsley! I feel what you’re going through with your book – actually, I’m in the exact same boat. To be totally honest, I have difficulty actually writing plots, which I’m working on. However, I know what goes into one! As near as I can figure, there are 3 elements to a basic plot:
1. What does my MC want?
2. What does s/he do about it?
3. Why do I care?
And that creates an instant plot! More details come into play, of course, but that’s the gist of it. If you want a last-minute fix sort of thing, maybe look at what you’ve already written and see if your MC already wants something. It can be anything: happiness, a decent job, a new sweater. If you find anything, amplify it, giving them a motive and a plan. Even let them fail every once in a while, and give the reader a reason to root for them.
Anyway, hopefully that helped. I’m nowhere near a plot expert, as I said, but anyway … 🙂 Have a good weekend, Aynsley! And good luck with your rewriting!
Thanks, Sam! That actually did help! Not too long after I commented that, Makenna gave me some great ideas, and you just gave me another one! Thanks so much, this blog of yours is really awesome! It’s helped me so much and I look forward to more posts!
No problem!! That’s why I’m here! 🙂 Makenna is pretty wise – it was a good idea to consult her for ideas. 😉
I’m so glad you like my blog! Your feedback means a lot to me. You and Makenna seriously motivate me to keep writing. So I should be thanking you!
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