Sometimes, believing in yourself is a hard thing to do—especially when you’re starting a new adventure. If you’re thinking about writing a book, writing full time, or even trying something new, then believing in yourself is vital.
When putting your work in the public domain, you’re opening yourself up to opinion. If you don’t believe in yourself and what you’re doing, you’ll be forever trying to please, you’ll always be seeking validation, and may even change yourself or go against your instincts to gain this.
How do I know? I’ve been there—many times. I’m still going through it on occasion. But what I’ve learned, is the most important voice, the best ambassador for your writing is you. We must all be open to change, to listening to advice, to grow—and that includes the information we offer ourselves. We aren’t born knowing everything, and we can often become wrapped up in our perceptions. External feedback can be the sunlight, rain, and soil to our growth. But don’t let the rain become the storm, beating on you until you submit.
Believe in your story. Believe in your characters. Believe in the worlds you create. If you can’t do this at the beginning, then something is missing, and you need to find it before you take the next step. So, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you? Here are a few tips that I’ve discovered help me:
1.) Remember the magic
When you first read through your story, even if it’s just the first paragraph, the first chapter, remember the magic you feel at the core when you do so. The feeling of warmth, and pleasure that you’ve created something that’s yours, with words, is truly magical. It doesn’t matter about the grammar or the pacing at this point. It’s the feeling that you’ve broken ground with something that has haunted your imagination, or urged to break free for an age. Remember this feeling. And remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remember the magic.
2.) Read through your early work
We all have the first time we wrote something without being forced or required to do so. The words we had to write. The ones that wanted to burst free. And I’m sure, somewhere, you have your early works in a binder, on your laptop, in the attic, or even published. Read through them. Not only to see how far you’ve come, but to see how back then you wrote from the heart instead of the technical. Remember again, the feeling you experienced from your writing during that time. This is why you write. Not for reviews. Not for recognition. But because you’ve always had a story to tell.
3.) Know you’re not alone
There are so many writers out there who don’t believe in themselves or who have fears on occasion. So talk about it. Or find videos about it. Share your experience and how you’re feeling. But know you’re not alone. Every one of us suffers from a confidence crisis in our writing at some point, especially if given reason to. e.g. a bad review, but we always bounce back, and come out fighting harder. Know that you have the strength to do the same.
4.) Ignore the haters
It’s hard. To shake the negative. To believe the positive. But it’s a choice we all have. So when the negative pecks at your brain like a woodpecker on caffeine, then tell it to ‘shoo’, go away, and then take great pains to ignore it. Remember the positive feedback, the way you felt when the story was bleeding from your fingertips, and focus on that.
5.) Chat to your characters
If you’re writing fiction, pretend to have a conversation with your protagonist. Trust me. It helps. Get into their mind. Ask them why you’re writing their story and see what your imagination conjures as a response. Our subconscious often comes through our writing, and our subconscious tends to be the wiser one due to not being affected by external influences. Listen it to it, listen to your character. But please don’t listen to them if they want you to misbehave, because then, well, they’re not good people.
Always trust in who you are and what you’re capable of. Others will always judge. People will always have an opinion, but if you believe in yourself, and what you’re doing, you’ll always stay true to the power you possess.
Please feel free to share in the comments any tips that you find useful in believing in yourself on your writing journey.