As an editor, I feel that I get to work with writers in their most vulnerable state. They hand me their manuscripts knowing full well that I will make countless notes and suggestions for improvement.
They know I will find things wrong.
I often hear: “I’m new to this”, “it’s not that great”, “I know it needs a lot of work”, “I’m sorry this is a mess”.
But here’s the thing.
No one hands me a perfect draft. No one ever will.
And here’s something else you should know: my work as an editor isn’t really about pointing out mistakes and showing writers where they failed to capture their audience.
That would be a depressing gig, wouldn’t it?
My work is about helping writers be the very best they can be. And one thing I see time and time again among writers is a staggering lack of confidence in their own work.
There is nothing more paralyzing than a lack of belief in your own ability. There is nothing that will cramp your style more. There is nothing more effective at creating writer’s block.
Right this minute there are thousands of writers who can’t move beyond the first paragraph of the novel they so desperately want to write. It’s not because they are bad at writing, and it’s not because they have zero experience. It’s because they don’t think they are capable. They are flooding their minds with negative self talk.
Because of that… they lack the confidence they need to put words to the page.
I’m not saying that you should look at yourself in the mirror every morning and tell yourself that you are the best writer that ever lived. That would be ridiculous and frankly… kind of cocky.
I’m saying that you need to trust yourself and accept two universal truths. Right now.
- Your first draft will not be your last draft. And that’s okay.
- Sometimes your writing will be awful. And that’s okay.
Stop worrying about being good. Stop worrying about the finished product. It’s not worth the inaction it creates.
Confidence is just a mind trick. It’s something you gain when you let go of fear and doubt. And those are your greatest enemies as a writer. It’s what keeps you from moving forward.
When you write with confidence, you give yourself the space to be creative. You give yourself the trust you need to experiment on the page. You loosen up and let your true voice come through.
No matter how “good” you are, you have to believe in yourself enough to actually write. This might sound silly. Writers should write… right?
You don’t have to be good at writing to be a confident writer. You just have to believe that you can do it and then do it. Every day. The more you practice, the more confidence you will gain and the better you will become.
Even if you suck at writing.
What’s stopping you from writing? Tell me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!