6 Ways to Increase Your Confidence as a Writer

Written by A Guest Author

By Chikodi Olasode

A writer’s journey is all about ups and downs, and how you weather the downs can make a real difference. Most writers at some stage doubt themselves or their ability to write. Here, I share some tips that might boost your confidence.

1.  Affirmation
I’ve seen writers cringe when asked what their occupation is. They may feel they lack legitimacy, because of the number of rejections they have piled up, and/or because they haven’t won an award. However, affirming that you are a writer – to yourself and to others – has value. Each time I remind myself that I’m a writer, it strengthens my resolve to continue doing what I love doing.

2. Ask yourself why you write
Do you write only because you see others around you writing? Or only because you read about a writer’s success? Then you may need to examine your reasons, because writing has to come from a place within yourself. It’s possible your big reason is that you want to see your writing published, or want an award, or want to make a living with it, or  somewhere between all of these. I write to communicate helpful messages to authors and poets, and if there are other benefits, that’s a plus. Your reasons should be those that sustain you over a long period, through a road that is difficult at times.

3. Try to curb negative thoughts
This is the interesting part, when you come face to face with your demons. Whenever I get a rejection letter or an apologetic email from an editor, I tell myself that my style is  not what they publish, or my message doesn’t suit their immediate needs. This is also what many editors and magazines say in their writers’ guidelines. It doesn’t mean the end of the road. There is a publication for everyone out there, the same way as there is a living to be made for specific types of writing. Rather than drown in your rejection letters, look at them as proof of your writing and submissions. Widen your search for publishing houses, contests and paid writing opportunities that are tailored to your peculiar style of writing, and keep submitting. Writers need to develop thick skin as far as rejections are concerned. They need to keep writing, and to keep submitting.

4. Master the craft of writing
Sometimes you need to check your writing thoroughly to ascertain your proficiency. Read a lot, maybe get trusted readers. Check your grammar and sentence construction, if more than one person tells you this is a problem, work on it. Study the nuts and bolts of craft, of telling your stories engagingly. Do research, if this is what it takes. Read works of good authors, study their styles and in this learning process, write every chance you get, to develop yours. Trust me, looking at your improved writing will boost your confidence significantly.

5. Be prepared for criticism
I’ve seen writers who can’t recover from criticism. Corrections may not sit well with you, but as a writer you need them. Despite the initial feeling of discouragement, these critiques address the shortcomings or gaps in the text which you, the writer, may not see, as you’re too close to the work. Great writers don’t write their way to the top without intense criticism from editors, publishers, and even their devoted readers at some point. Imagine if they let it weigh them down — many would never have reached the peak. Don’t retreat into your shell when your work is critiqued. Instead, fasten your belt, and look on it as an opportunity to improve your work.

6. Maintain a strong social network with other writers
There’s no doubt that writing is a solo task, because you do need your space and a certain kind of atmosphere to create worlds. Most times, it’s just me, my laptop and a cup of lemon tea as I write. But thanks to social media today, writing has become a little less lonely. After hours of writing, there are people just clicks away waiting to inspire and share feedback with me. Let yourself out to a world of like minds, of writers who understand the pains and pleasures of sitting for hours to create, and let them encourage you. There are many writer platforms online that will rev you up when you feel less confident as a writer. It works for me every time.

You can connect with fellow writers on Reddit Camp NaNoWriMo and  Insecure Writers Support Group for an amazing journey together.

 

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