Without Confidence, You Will Never Write a Book

Photo by Alexandra Kirr on Unsplash

Starting something new, like writing a book, really challenges us to be courageous and confident.

Especially if we’ve never written a book before! How can you be confident doing something you’ve never tried before? Where does confidence come from anyway?

These are good questions!

The truth is that confidence usually comes from the proof of the past. If we’ve accomplished something in the past or have performed well, then our confidence increases. The next time we come across that activity, we feel more confident about tackling it. This is something I share with my university students. I ask them if they believe they can write a strong, effective business proposal, and maybe two hands will go up. Most students stare at me blankly.

I ask if they can write an email, a short letter, a short story, anything? And then, most say yes, of course.

What I’m getting at with them and with you in this blog is that when we are about to start a new writing project, we might feel a lack of confidence, naturally. This is because it feels overwhelming, and we’ve never done it before.

Gaining Confidence

Since the large project is new, the best way to feel confident is to search back to what you’ve done successfully in the past that is similar. With writing, it’s easy because most of us have written something. And I’m guessing, most of you have written blogs or stories of some sort. You might have even written a book. If you’ve written successfully in the past, you can expect that you will write successfully now, even if it’s a larger, more involved piece of writing.

But every project is different and new, and you can still feel a lack of confidence even if you have experience, I get that. The book I will be writing this year is different from anything I’ve written before, so I feel a slight lack of confidence. Can I pull it off? Will my readers accept something different that isn’t women’s fiction?

Instead of focusing on what I haven’t done before, I plan to stay motivated and think positively by remembering what I have done. It’s also helpful to remember that at one point, I had never written a novel, and yet, I dove in and learned along the way. And I can do the same with the new book. Past experience helps me to be more confident.

Be Willing to Learn

We also gain confidence by admitting and accepting that we don’t know everything, and we don’t have to know it all to begin and to do well.

If you are willing to learn while you write, and to make a few mistakes without stressing out, you will be a more successful writer and you will grow more confident. You’ll see yourself making errors, fixing them, moving forward, and getting your writing done. People who don’t make mistakes are people who don’t try anything.

Let’s look at it this way, as writers, we don’t always know what our story is going to look like in the end. When we begin, we have a germ of an idea, not a fully thought-out story. And yet, we trust that the idea will grow and begin to form either in our mind or when we sit to create the outline. This means that we have confidence that our creative spirit will emerge and that the story will develop.

So, real confidence comes from knowing that even if we don’t know everything yet, we will be able to learn what we need to learn, discover what we need to discover, find what we need to find to create the story. It means we trust ourselves.

Other Ways to Gain Confidence

As you take on this book project, make sure you do these things as well to gain and build your confidence.

1. Do what you say you’re going to do

If you say, you are going to write everyday at 6pm, then do it. People become more confident in themselves when they can trust themselves to do what they say they will do.

2. Keep your eye on the target

By focusing on that finished book, you begin to believe that it will exist one day, and it will exist because you will write it. The more you focus on it, the more confidence you will feel, usually because it excites you and motivates you to do the work. Focusing on the finished book, pushes me to write a few pages today, and that raises my confidence level as I see myself accomplishing the goal.

3. Don’t worry about what others think or say

The easiest way to lose confidence in your dream and in yourself is to share it with someone who is not going to be supportive. So, if you think others will not understand or cheer you on, don’t tell them you are writing. And if it’s someone close to you like a spouse or partner and they see you writing and are negative about it, don’t pay attention to them. Love them but realize that they may have their own fears (less of your attention, financial, etc.), and their fears are prompting their lack of support for your writing dream. What others say doesn’t matter and it’s not a measurement of your abilities. Stay confident in yourself by blocking out their negative vibes.

It Is Not About Understanding Yourself

There are exercises you can do and deep dives into figuring out where your lack of confidence comes from. You can talk with therapists and life coaches and learn where your low self-esteem originated. You can also practice feeling confident by remembering times when you were confident and what your body felt like and what you thought at the time and trying to recreate that. But honestly, though all that is nice and educational, and maybe worth it to improve your life as a whole, it is not necessary for you to become a successful writer.

You don’t need to spend weeks trying to understand yourself. We all doubt our writing abilities at times. You will probably doubt yourself again, and you will never quite confidently tackle every writing project. That’s okay. It’s part of writing and it has nothing to do with your self-esteem, in my opinion. The best way to gain confidence is to remind yourself that you’ve done it before and can do it again, and to be willing to learn and adapt as you work through your project. Over time, you will grow more confident about your writing abilities, and each piece of writing will get easier.

Together we will get our books written this year. In my previous blog, I provide the details for my writing invitation to make this the year you write your book.

Have a story to tell? Want to learn how to record personal experiences before they’re lost or write a novel? Consider taking one of Julia’s beginning writing or publishing courses.

Also check out Julia’s new book, This Is Now!

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Women’s Fiction author of That Was Then, Say You’ll Be Mine, and Evenings at the Argentine Club. Speaker and and teacher. https://www.facebook.com/juliaamante/

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Julia Amante

Julia Amante

Women’s Fiction author of That Was Then, Say You’ll Be Mine, and Evenings at the Argentine Club. Speaker and and teacher. https://www.facebook.com/juliaamante/

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