Years ago, when I was just setting out to follow my dream of becoming a published author, I was feeling exceptionally vulnerable, questioning not only my story, plot lines, and writing ability, but also my decision to pursue this craft.
I got feedback that my main character's vocabulary was too advanced for her age, and I began to question why I thought I could jump from writing complex legal motions and memoranda to writing a children's story.
I almost gave up when the story was about 2/3 of the way done. And I might have quit were it not for a good friend who helped me regain my confidence.
I told her upfront that I was feeling insecure with everything and while I wanted to know where I could improve the story, I desperately needed to know whether she thought it was even worth pursuing. And if she did, I asked her to sandwich her constructive criticism in between statements like “This part works really well” and “Keep writing!”
And that’s exactly what she did.
Thanks to the resulting bump in confidence that I received from her kind feedback, I was not only able to finish my book, but I was able to dramatically improve the story as well. I took her comments seriously and evaluated her suggestion that Sophie’s coursework and vocabulary better matched a 2nd or 3rd grader, so I changed Sophie from a 1st grader to a 3rd grader, among other things.
As a result, I finished writing Sophie and Spot within a few months and won a Gold Medal for Best First Book in the chapter book category from Moonbeam Children’s book awards. That’s the power that confidence can give you.
Imagine if I had let my lack of confidence prevent me from finishing my book. All too often as writers, we let ourselves believe that something is wrong with our story or our writing or ourselves. When, in reality, if we can only have the confidence to keep writing, we could share an award-winning book with the world.
Maybe you’re trying to write in an entirely new genre.
Maybe you’re trying to write your first book.
Maybe your first book wasn’t as successful as you’d hoped it would be.
Maybe someone told you your book wasn’t any good, wasn’t ready for editing, wasn’t readable enough, wasn’t worth your time.
Maybe they told you it wasn’t similar enough to the successful books in your genre so you should change your unique voice to conform to other’s expectations.
Whatever your reason, maybe you’re struggling to find or regain your confidence. Imagine if you could boldly rediscover your innate power as a writer. What will you create when you give yourself a chance?