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It takes a certain amount of confidence to be a creative writer. The simple act of putting pen to paper can make a writer feel vulnerable, and at Writer’s Relief, we know all about the courage required to submit your precious work to editors and literary agents. Anxiety and self-doubt can completely derail some writers; others will be more likely to procrastinate when it comes to writing and submitting. And for others, a lack of confidence can be a roadblock to creativity.
A confident writer is a successful writer—a writer who sees criticism as feedback and a rejection letter as a necessary part of the submission process. So how can writers build confidence in their craft and become more successful?
HOW TO BE A MORE CONFIDENT WRITER:
Remind yourself why you are a writer. We’re willing to bet you didn’t become a writer for the money or the glamorous lifestyle… So it must be because you have a passion, a talent, a need to write, no matter what other people think.
Review your best work as evidence. Whether it’s a towering stack of great short stories or simply one particularly perfect scene from a novel in the works, gather the writing you’re most proud of and remind yourself of your talent.
Rejoice in rejection. Rejection letters from literary agents and editors are evidence that you are submitting your work, plugging away at your dreams. A writer without a rejection letter is a writer who hasn’t had the courage to reach out.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Your writing style, publication credits, background, inspiration—these are all uniquely yours. If you constantly compare yourself to “more successful” writers, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Step out of your comfort zone. If poetry is your strength, push yourself in a new direction just for fun—explore the world of short stories or personal essays and see if you have an undiscovered talent.
Let go of expectations. Try sitting down and just letting your writing come. Don’t obsess over a perfect first sentence, and don’t try to force a certain style if it doesn’t feel natural. Just do what you love to do without putting pressure on yourself. Edit later, if you must.
Share your work. Whether you join a writers group or start submitting your work for publication, face the anxiety of what other people may think and deal with it. Even if you receive nothing but constructive criticism, you’ll have faced a writer’s biggest fear: putting your writing out there.
Tap into your fears and insecurities. A well-fed, complacent cat is more likely to sun itself than go hunting; writers can use the energy of their anxiety to get them off the couch and out there, hunting for a new idea or a new market. Fear and anxiety are energy—energy writers can use to their advantage.
Remember that as writers, we are a work in progress. The more we write—the more we read, take classes, and study our craft—the better writers we become. As our skills improve, so does our confidence. So if you’re serious about boosting your confidence as a writer, the best advice may be simply to WRITE. (And let us know if you need help submitting what you write. Writer’s Relief clients get results!)