Ideally, you feel a happy certainty that you’re a good writer. You realize your first draft won’t be perfect, but you’re confident you can improve on it. You’ve know you’ve got a message worth sharing or a story worth telling. If you’re like many writers though, your confidence levels might be dangerously low. Perhaps you find yourself thinking, it’s not worth writing; I’ll never get anywhere; I’m not a real writer. At best, thoughts like this sap your writing energy. At worst, they stop you writing altogether – not just for a few days or weeks, but for years.
These six tips should help you build your confidence and feel good about your writing.
1: Read Other Writers Discussing the Writing Process
All writers have times when they feel like quitting—even bestselling authors. By reading what they have to say, you’ll realize the difficulties you’re having are completely normal.
Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.―Neil Gaiman
2: Start and Finish a Writing Project
I never finish anything. Does that sound familiar? A huge stack of incomplete projects can be really discouraging. So this time, turn it around. Pick one not-too-huge project to focus on—perhaps a poem or a short story or a blog post—and finish it. Sure, it won’t be perfect but you’ll have learned a lot in the process.
3: Keep Learning Your Craft
One great way to grow not only your confidence but also your skill is to continually learn more about writing. You can learn from blogs, books, magazines, talks, courses – whatever fits into your life. It doesn’t matter how. What matters is that you do keep on learning. And if you come across tips you’re already following, celebrate! You’re getting it right.
4: Share Your Work With Other Writers
This can be a scary step but also a hugely rewarding one. It’s an amazing feeling to have readers, and letting other writers see your work. It can provide you with a great confidence boost. Good feedback will help you strengthen your story. You’ll gain confidence as you realize that, while your current draft might not be perfect, you now have ways to improve it.
5: Get Your Inner Critic to Shut Up
Your inner critic is that little voice saying, this sentence isn’t working or your dialogue is too bland or you need to rewrite that bit. You don’t need to listen to that voice when you’re drafting. Remind yourself that you can edit later—and then your inner critic will be useful, rather than discouraging. It’s worth experimenting with different ways to block out that voice as you write. For me, listening to certain kinds of music does the trick.
6: Set Yourself Goals
When you start out writing, your only goal might be to write on a regular basis—maybe daily, but it might be weekly or twice weekly if you’re busy. As you go further with your writing though, a great way to boost your confidence is by regularly setting and meeting goals. The trick here is to make your goals a little bit challenging—but not so challenging you give up entirely.
How’s your writing confidence? Do you have a tip to share or a question to ask?