- Well, first off I make sure I draw upon the support of peers and mentors. Despite being 'Down Under', I continue to keep in contact via email and Skype with authors whose work I respect and whose support continues to be invaluable. When I am plagued by self-doubt I turn to them for validation. They help remind me that writing is my profession and that I can, and will, succeed as long as I continue to explore and hone my craft.
- I focus on the process - whether it be drafting or editing or promotion. I focus on the satisfaction that comes from achieving ever a minor milestone - the first page, that first chapter, the first completed draft etc. Often rereading material I have written actually inspires hope too:)
- I surround myself with inspiration - from copies of my published books, to goal charts that I can aim for - or brainstorm ideas that keep my imagination chugging along. Rather than dwelling on what isn't working in my writing, these things can help remind me on the things that have succeeded and help fuel the excitement that comes from pursuing my dream with passion and ambition.
- Finally, I continue to seek a reality check. A lack of self-confidence is a feeble excuse for not writing. So when I start feeling sorry for myself I know it's time to pull my socks up and get hard at work. I think the great athlete Jesse Owens, sums this up nicely when he said: "The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself - the invisible, inevitable battles inside us all - that's where it's at."
Monday, July 11, 2011
by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
Following on from Jim's terrific post yesterday, I was thinking about the methods I use to try and push aside my doubts and foster self-confidence. I can't say that these methods work on the truly dark days, when writer angst can almost paralyzes me, but they do help me get back on track and (as Jim so wisely advises) write through it.
As Samuel Johnson wrote: "self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings." It is certainly critical to being a published writer these days. You need it to project a professional image to your agent and editor. You need it to get out there and promote the hell out of your book. And you most certainly need it to help pull yourself out of any writer pot-holes you might fall into such as rejection, writer's block, panic and doubt. Another great writer, Anthony Trollope,once wrote: "Never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning."
In publishing, editors and agents will, likewise, take you at your own reckoning, but this doesn't mean you should be either cocky or arrogant. No, I believe self-confidence requires a balance between ambition and humility. You can believe in your work without forgetting the need to continually learn and strive for excellence. So how to I try and maintain my self-confidence?
So do you struggle with finding sufficient self-confidence to pursue your dreams? If so, what do you do to keep (or get yourself back) on track?