HOW TO CULTIVATE SELF-BELIEF IN YOUR WRITING ABILITY.
Self-belief is such an important thing to develop as a writer. When it comes to making a start on a big project like a book, submitting or sharing work (with the potential for criticism or rejection), or even just in having the will to keep at it when the words are slow and difficult, a strong sense of self-belief can give you the resilience you need to keep going.
But how do we cultivate that belief in the face of self-doubt, impostor syndrome and all the other wobbles and obstacles that pop up as part of the writing process?
If we have far-off, lofty sounding dreams of being published one day this self-belief can be particularly hard to come by. We might find ourselves comparing our writing to accomplished, published authors, further damaging our confidence.
Maybe we'll even use that kind of thinking to talk ourselves out of writing altogether: "who am I," we think, "to dream of seeing my writing in a bookshop?" or "What's the point in writing, if I’ll never get to be that good - if I never get published?"
Getting to the heart of what the 'point' of writing is for you is one way to counteract this. Do you enjoy the feeling of getting lost in an hour of creative writing? Do you love to see your words shaping the worlds and stories that are important to you?
Something I cover in my ebook, Deep Roots, is how wonderful it is to be a beginner at something, to be able to enjoy writing without the pressure of necessarily having to be good at it. I think this is a great place to start in combating those feeling of doubt and low confidence that can trouble us when we’re starting out.
The truth is that you might not be good enough to be published (yet). You're never going to know for sure until you make a start on getting those ideas and projects written into reality.
Things to try when you want to cultivate self belief:
Remember that everyone starts somewhere. Even your favourite author has written terrible first drafts and struggled with doubt.
Get some feedback. This is a scary one but it can be so, so rewarding. Have someone you trust read your work, and be clear about asking them what they enjoyed / what was good about it. Feedback doesn't have to be critical and getting some compliments for your writing can be a huge confidence-booster.
Share your words with the world. Post your writing in an Instagram caption or finally make a start on that blog. In my experience the Instagram community is always a very uplifting and positive place to share creative work, so don't worry about receiving criticism.
Read some bad writing. Stop comparison from tricking you into thinking your writing is the worst thing ever and seek out some poor writing to give yourself a reality check.
Get better at it! Committing to a regular writing habit and watching your skill grow and develop is a great way to work on your confidence steadily.
Ultimately, cultivating that sense of self-belief is always going to feel like a work in progress. It's okay for that progress to feel slow sometimes, but it's also so important to remember to look back on how far you've come already (it's probably further than you think).