How To Write With Confidence And Say Goodbye To Self-Doubts
Who Is This For?
This is for all of you who don’t feel that your writing is good enough. This is for all of you who break out in a cold sweat when it comes time to “publish” your next article. This is for all of you out there who find endless reasons not to submit an article to magazines, and this is for all of you who have a novel inside of them but just can’t find the courage to begin it.
This is for the shy teenager who has never believed in her ability, and for the adult who remembers that teenager all too well. This is for the middle-aged housewife who struggles with self-confidence and has been told in the past that she has no talent. This is for the brow-beaten, the cast-offs and the social rejects.
I know who you are. I know how you feel. I am one of you.
I understand the oppressive weight of self-loathing. I am the kid who sat in the corner at school dances and prayed that no one would notice my aloneness. I am the adult who perspired blood at the thought of speaking in front of any group. I am the writer who was comfortable writing in obscurity for years because there was great safety in anonymity.
I know how you feel. I am one of you.
The Bible for writers
Searching for Answers Where There Were None
Maybe I was dropped on my head as a child, and as a result I suffered some brain damage that hindered my confidence. Maybe I lack from proper nurturing, or maybe I am missing the “confidence gene” so necessary in order to develop as a public persona. Hell, maybe that bullying during childhood really had an effect on me.
The one thing I know for certain is that water under the bridge can never be used for irrigation. It has already flowed swiftly by and serves no purpose for my immediate needs. What does solve a purpose is to take positive steps forward, and that is a process that has no time limit.
To move from that frightened child of the past to this confident sixty-five year old writer of today, certain steps had to be taken. Please do not think I sat down at the age of twenty and mapped out a strategy for success in life because that simply is not the case. What I do have is the benefit of hindsight. What I do have is the ability to look back over the landscape of this extraordinary, ordinary life and see what steps I did take that brought me to this point.
So I share that hindsight with all of you who were also dropped on your head as children, in hopes that some of it, or all of it, will help you to move forward one step at a time.
Why do I care? Because I believe the world needs writers. I believe the world needs more artists and musicians and photographers and sculptors and poets. The world desperately needs the beauty that we can provide, and I think it would be profoundly sad if the beauty inside of you was not shared with the rest of humanity.
So shall we begin? Follow along on a whirlwind trip through my past and perhaps you will find whatever you need in order to move to the next level.
What the hell? Yes, PIPO! Positive In/Positive Out. Inhale positive thoughts and positive actions will eventually occur.
I am a big believer in the process of osmosis. If I do not have confidence then I need to hang with people who will provide positive input for me until I believe in their message. How can any of us live in a vacuum of negative thoughts and input, and expect to find a positive outcome?
Surround yourselves with supportive, positive people who will help you to be the best writer possible. It worked for me seven years ago and I guarantee it will work for you. And if you don't have any positive people in your life then get in touch with me. I'll have you believing in yourself very quickly.
A pep talk for all of you
Helpful book with important tips
Are You Lacking the Skills?
Well then work at your craft. Simply stated, if you are not a good writer then make yourself one. Writing is not like a tone-deaf singer trying to navigate through an opera. Writing is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. No, not every writer will be great, but certainly every writer can reach a level of competence. All it takes is work. Learn from others. Read often. Join a writing group. Take a course. Do whatever it takes to reach a level that will inspire confidence in your skill.
When I made the decision to take writing seriously, I did all of the above. I read books on writing. I joined groups. I took an online course and I read like my tail was on fire and books were extinguishers. Have I reached the level of great? Not by a long shot, but I am one heck of a better writer than I was four years ago, and you will be too.
Leave nothing on the field when the game of life is done
We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself
Four years into my teaching career I was asked to be the keynote speaker at graduation. Can you spell terrified? I loathed speaking in front of people. I loathed leaving my comfort zone and sticking my neck on the public chopping block of opinion. How in the love of God did they expect me to stand in front of 500 people and give a five minute speech?
And so I wrote the speech, and I practiced the speech, and I re-wrote the speech, and I practiced some more, and the sickness in my stomach increased to the point of vomiting the day of the speech. I knew that all the preparation in the world was not going to prevent me from making a complete fool of myself that night.
But what could I do? My students were counting on me. The staff was counting on me and the parents were counting on me. Not showing up was not an option, so I had no choice but to face my fear and get my butt up on that stage.
Today I have no problem with public speaking; in fact, I am quite comfortable with it, and it is all because I finally faced the ghosts of my past and said to hell with it. Life is just too short to be wasting time with fear. Pick up whatever backpack of courage you have and move into the fray.
A Willingness to Succeed As a Writer
Two years ago I was comfortably settled into a life as a freelance writer. I was making enough money to pay the bills and the future as a freelancer looked bright.
The key word in that last sentence is “comfortable.’ My wife one day asked me when I was going to take my writing career to the next step. She asked me if I was willing to do whatever was necessary to become the writer I wanted to be. She suggested in a very loving manner (he said tongue in cheek) that eventually I was going to have to publish my work online and leave my comfort zone. It was all well and good that I was making money writing for content mills, but that in no way was advancing my career as a serious writer who wanted to be published.
She was right of course, and so I joined the writing site HubPages. There I was forced to publish articles and risk the opinions of other writers.
Two years later I can say with all conviction that her suggestion was the best gift she could have given me. My confidence has grown like crabgrass and today I write with confidence and passion.
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Yes, Writing Can Be Scary
Once we put our name to an article and publish it, we are stepping into the chasm. We are risking critique. We are inviting others to surgically remove our confidence and toss it on the junk pile.
But by not putting our name to an article….by not publishing an article….we are risking something far greater. We run the risk of never being complete as a writer and as a human. We have a limited number of years on this planet, and I for one plan on living life like my hair is on fire. When they finally toss that first shovel of dirt on me, I will have held nothing back. That is how life should be lived.
As writers, we have a responsibility to society to advance our craft. Beauty needs to be shared. If there is a story or poem inside of you then you owe it to others to release that story or poem so that others can gain joy from it. I believe that with every ounce that is in me and I know you believe it too.
So sit down at that computer and get started. You are writers! You have a passion to write. You have a need to write. You have a responsibility to write.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”