While completing the read through of my novel recently my confidence waned. The story still seemed to be lacking in some areas and I lacked confidence in my ability to save it, or if it was even worth saving.
In the hope that I’m not the terrible writer I think I might be I have been researching what other writers have said about improving writing confidence.
Below is a list of the key advice I found.
- Rewrite (more practice)
- Share with others
- Use editors
- Read/about the writing processes of other writers
- Learn the craft (practice) and take courses
- Submit work – to publishers, competitions and magazines (also sharing)
- Kill off the inner critic (for a while); your inner voice and those around you
- Finish something
The first thing this list has helped me discover is that there are others out there suffering as I am.
And there is a lot of info out there (point 5). It is even easier now to read what other writers are doing and I’m amazed at the number of writers I’ve discovered, and still discovering. Many of them have a range of interesting and useful information and tools on their sites. I have found quite a few writers that have similar processes to me and I am always interested in how they handle different issues. I have also found quite a few with different processes from which I can learn a lot.
The first point about practice is the most important, I think. My aim is to write every day. It doesn’t always happen but if I’m not writing then I’m thinking about writing or ideas for writing. And blogging counts as a form of practice too.
I also advocate finding like-minded people, or writers at a similar stage, and sharing your writing with them. I’m a member of two different writing groups (one in person and one on Facebook) and I find both useful for testing my writing and learning.
In the possibility of self-publishing my work I have considered an editor, quite seriously. I’m not sure that this improves my confidence or is more like a safety net. At least if my story isn’t very good then the editor will pick up where the issues are.
One of the most important points (and I didn’t include it on the list above) is that the writing doesn’t have to be perfect immediately. You can’t start from the top, so to speak. This helps in some way by giving me the freedom to be bad and getting the story down first, then improve on it later.
Finishing something is great for the confidence levels. As of yesterday I have “finished” the current draft of my novel and that completion certainly helped boost my confidence. I was somewhat nervous as I pressed the send button to forward it to the beta reading group but it is comforting to know it is out in the world now (if only a small part of it).
Confidence seems to be a key element in any writing. How do you maintain your confidence or pick it up when it is slipping?
Image courtesy of Eric Chan, Flickr