I’ll admit it: my self-confidence has always been a struggle for me. There’re reasons for that but they don’t matter tonight. Besides, you might already know some of them, since some are all too common.
Still, it never occurred to me that my self-confidence – or lack thereof – might impact my writing.
Sometimes I like to just pull one of my writing books down and thumb through it looking for… something. Tonight, I pulled down Writing Begins with the Breath by Laraine Herring. Flipping the pages, I landed on a chapter called simply, “Acceptance.” It got me thinking. A lot.
The author writes,
When you see yourself realistically, you’ll see your writing realistically. If we think we’re perfect, we won’t be able to hear helpful comments from peers on our poetry. If we think everything we do is a disaster, we won’t be able to see the beauty that is hidden in the verses. […] If I believe I don’t know anything and never will, the same result occurs. (page 49)
That’s kind of brilliant. And it’s very true. If we’re so intent on downplaying our writing talent and skills, or we just can’t see them because we’re so used to thinking negative things about ourselves, then how will we ever improve as writers? How will our work strengthen and develop to become the polished, moving piece we want it to be, if we’re constantly tearing it down? Whether we write fiction, science, humor, or biographies, we need to believe in our abilities enough to take in criticism, but also to take in praise.
My self-confidence is much higher than it was 10 years ago, and higher even than it was 3 years ago. I like to think this is reflected in my writing; certainly I write more often and am more engaged with my writing than I ever was. Some of that is my involvement with my local SCBWI chapter – they have, through conferences, talks, and interactions, inspired me and encouraged me to keep going when my interest and energy started flagging.
But I think it’s also that I now call myself a writer. I’m no longer, “trying to write,” or “wanting to be a writer,” or “an aspiring writer.” I AM a writer, and I can stand in that truth and go from there.
On a little side note, I have to admit that I missed a step in my Olympic challenge: I didn’t write yesterday. I had every intention but the day got away from me and then I was just too exhausted. Made it up tonight though: 287 words. I can live with that.
Good night, all.