Doubt. Imposter syndrome. Uncertainty. A lack of confidence is one of the biggest obstacles a writer has to face. Whether you’ve been writing for one year or ten, you’ll battle with confidence in your writing skills on well, a pretty regular basis to be honest. But I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve to share with you. Let’s look at a few ways to build confidence in your writing ability.
Learn to Ignore Your Inner Jerk
Your inner jerk is the voice inside your head saying you’re not good enough and that you have no idea what you’re doing. And you know what? Your inner jerk is wrong. It’s hard to silence that voice completely, but with some practice, you can learn to quiet it down. When your inner critic starts making a racket, ignore it and take everything it says with a grain of salt. A great book for tackling that nasty voice is Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa.
Look at Your Work with a Critical Eye
While it’s best to ignore your inner jerk altogether, it’s still important to look at your work with a critical (but kind) eye. Go through multiple drafts and make edits. Cut the fluff from your work. Understand the weaknesses in your writing. Improve those weaknesses. But do all of these things while reminding yourself that you are a skilled writer and these changes are making your writing even better.
Finish a Writing Project
How many times have you started a writing project without finishing it? Or come up with a new idea without pursuing it? For me, it’s more times than I can count. However, one of the best confidence boosters in the world is finishing a project and putting it out into the world. So pick a small project, finish it, and use the momentum to keep you going and pad your confidence levels.
Horde Your Positive Feedback
Whenever you get positive feedback, hang on to it the way Scrat the squirrel hangs on to his acorn in Ice Age. If an editor sends you a raving review, save that email in your ‘Happy’ folder. Screenshot all the positive comments on your blog post. Favourite the social media posts that praise your writing. Anytime you’re lacking confidence as a writer, you can quickly turn to all your positive feedback and give yourself a boost.
Never Stop Learning
No matter how much you build your confidence, there’s obviously no such thing as a perfect writer. Make a habit out of learning new things about your craft by taking classes, reading books on writing, attending a writer’s group, and experimenting with new styles of writing. Not only will you gain confidence, but you’ll learn valuable skills to use with clients and in your own projects.
Regardless of how many years of writing experience you have, self-doubt can strike at any time. If you have the right mindset and strategies in place though, you can build your confidence and keep on writing.