I questioned myself as I wrote that title.
It’s because after nearly five years as a professional writer (not to mention a near lifetime as an amateur writer) I still struggle with confidence.
So, I think the first lesson in being a confident writer is: get comfortable with the fact that you probably won’t ever be a completely confident writer.
If that makes sense.
But you can become a much more confident writer than you are now.
Especially if you’re not currently writing at all.
Especially if the reason you’re not currently writing at all is that you’re too scared to write, because that means you might have to show your writing to someone else, and what happens if they don’t like it?
Writing is personal, after all… so if someone doesn’t like your writing, does it mean they really don’t like you? Does not-good-enough writing mean you’re not good enough?
I’ve asked myself all those questions in the past. They’re part of the reason why it took me so long to believe I could write for a living.
Here are some of the lessons that helped me grow my own writing confidence, and the belief that I could write in return for money.
1. Most People Don’t Care About Your Writing (And That’s A Good Thing!)
That searingly honest blog post you’ve just written feels like the most important piece of writing in the world to you.
You’re certain that people are going to gasp, laugh, or cry as they read it, and then they’ll get in touch to say you how fabulous and insightful you are. Or they’ll tell you how awful it was, and how much they despise you.
Either way, you know that once you post it, things are going to happen. People are going to react in seismic proportions.
But the thing is… they probably won’t.
There’s a lot of seriously good writing around, and most of it gets skim-read without so much as a ripple of interest. People are busy, so they’ll jump from one article or story to the next, without giving them very much thought.
Why is this a good thing?
Once you realise that the vast majority of people don’t care about your writing, you can safely (and peacefully) share your ideas and your stories with the world, growing your confidence along the way.
If you do this regularly, then over time you’re highly likely to attract a band of people who will care.
The nice ones are your tribe.
2. Consistency Is Key
If you want to be a confident writer, you have to be consistent.
You have to develop a scribbling habit, and you have to share the results on a regular basis.
Keep doing that, and those fears will subside…
…and once they’re out of the way, who knows what your words might achieve?
3. Don’t Strive For Perfection
You won’t ever achieve it.
If you’re worried about spelling and grammar, get someone to read your writing before you share it.
Otherwise, if you’re happy that it says what it needs to, go on and press ‘Publish’.
You might be wrong, but the world isn’t going to stop, and the feedback you get will help to make you better later on.
Which brings me to…
4. Act On Feedback
Don’t be scared about what people have to say about your writing. Use their comments to help you grow, instead.
My books have attracted one and two-star reviews on Amazon, and some of my articles have less-than-savoury comments left underneath them.
I won’t pretend that these don’t sting, but they’re part and parcel of writing and idea-sharing, and they DO get easier to bear with time.
Some of the ‘negative’ feedback I’ve received has definitely helped me become a much better writer over the years (once I get past that first spark of “how dare you!” indignation most of us feel when someone criticises something that’s close to our hearts).
If you’d like a safe space to test out new writing ideas, with the time and support you need to create a new writing habit that sticks, my six-week Bodacious Blogging Course starts on Wednesday 16th September.
See you there?
I'm a friendly and professional writer, reviewer and editor who works with warmth, humour and flexibility.
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