A while back, while a critique partner and I were talking about my upcoming book projects, she asked me, “How do you write so many books without doubting yourself? Where do you get your confidence?”
I laughed in surprise at her question because I don’t consider myself a terribly confident person; in fact, I tend to be very anxious and insecure. But when I thought about it some more, I realized that my “writing confidence” comes from a few different sources.
1. Writing quickly. I tend to draft very quickly not because I particularly enjoy it but because it’s the only way I can stay ahead of the self-doubt that would otherwise paralyze me and make me stop. I have much more confidence in my revising abilities than I do in my drafting abilities, so the sooner I can get to the revision stage, the better.
2. Always improving my craft. I’m always trying to find ways to strengthen my writing, whether that’s through reading craft books, attending conferences, or trying out new techniques. The more tools I have in my writing arsenal, the more I trust that I’ll be able to figure out the trickiest problems.
3. Accepting that failure might be an option. Another friend asked me the other day if I’d ever given up on a project based on someone else’s feedback, and I admitted that I had. Sometimes a story is not your best work, no matter how much you want it to be. And some ideas are not salvageable. That’s okay. This isn’t a personal failing. It’s the nature of creativity. If I’ve tried everything I can think of and things still aren’t working, I give myself permission to put something away.
Where do you get YOUR writing confidence?
|Originally published at www.annastan.com|