So I’ve seen a great number of people who aren’t really confident in their writing, are upset with reactions they’ve gotten from people, discouraged when they have to change their typical style (whether in school or work), getting annoyed with people editing their work, and just overall upset about what they write. Take this or leave it, But these are some tips that helped me become a more confident writer.
Sorry if it got a bit long and ranty…
Warning: Opinions Below
Here’s a bit of what has helped me to become a more confident writer:
- Take criticism without getting defensive or taking it personally. Most people are just trying to help and are often a good resource to have another view on what you’re writing. Don’t lose that by being overly offended.
- Editors aren’t trying to take away your voice or opinions. They’re trying to help clarify words and sentences so your point comes across best and most easily. They’re not trying to indirectly say “you suck,” or “you’re wrong and need to change.”
- Allow editors to change things with the understanding that they are good at what they do. They are not just going to focus on spelling and grammar. They also work on character and plot development, filling in plot holes, taking out unnecessary fluff, and making it easier for first time readers to get what you are saying. Without editors, we’d have a lot more books like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey (If they had editors, don’t go to them. Do research to find a good editor). Take advantage of their help. You as a writer have the final say, but be open to what they suggest.
- Realize your writing probably isn’t the most amazing thing to enter the literary world and that you will need help to perfect it as best you can. This for me has been one of the best aids as I write more. With this mindset of “okay, my writing’s okay, but it could be better” is really preparing me for when I get edited by other people. Don’t say that you suck. That will just discourage you completely. Just allow yourself to realize that it could be better. Find a balance of “I’m a decent writer” and “I need some help”.
- Being open to changing your style of writing to what is required. By style I’m talking about whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, research, etc. You see this in some dancing shows where to determine who the best dancer is, they see which one can dance well in a variety of ways (hip-hop, interpretive, ballet, etc.). Style isn’t the same as voice and you will have to change your style when writing a fantasy novel to when you’re writing a research paper.
- Patience to realize not everyone will enjoy what you have done, and that you are going to face some rejection. It may be your heart out there, but publishers need to focus on what they believe will sell. They aren’t as connected to what you wrote as you are. Keep at it and you should succeed eventually.
- Don’t take everything personally, especially from family and friends. Yes, what you write is special to you, but people are greatly selfish and not really thinking about all that went into your writing. It isn’t that they hate you, think you’re lame, or anything like that, but rather, they’re just too focused on themselves to really understand you are letting them read your heart. We’re all like that to some extent. Athletes might be really excited about their performance on the field, but if you don’t understand and have their experience, you might react in a way they are disappointed in.
- Remember: you can’t control how people react. If you’re showing someone your work for the first time, try not to determine how they will react. You might be super proud, but they might not react like they’re impressed. There are a number of reasons behind why that might be. Perhaps they’ve had a hard day, aren’t feeling very good, having family problems, might just be their personality, or they aren’t very excitable readers. For the most part, it probably doesn’t have anything to do with how good of a writer you are.
- Don’t feel that you have to be willing to self-publish. Some writers say, “If you aren’t willing to self-publish, then what makes you think actual publishers will want you?” Being published is more than having people like/dislike what you wrote. Some authors think self-publishing is lazy. You don’t have to go through the rejections, paperwork, etc, that goes into getting published through a company. Often what will make you successful (Not meaning wealthy, but able to go far with writing) are those struggles. Plus, being published by a company will get you more promotion and advertising, which helps greatly. They want to publish something that will bring in money, so they will promote it for you. Sometimes self-publishing works amazingly, but don’t count on it.
- Allow yourself breaks, times of sucking, and uninspired garbage. Just like other careers and hobbies, there will be times you don’t feel like you’re doing very well. That’s okay. You’re allowed to take a break, reward yourself no matter how little work you do, and sometimes write the most cliche trash you’ve ever seen. It can help lead to something better. That’s what the next draft is for.
- Believe you have what it takes. You are unique and have something to share with this world no one else has. Don’t get too discouraged. Surround yourself with others who understand you and your love for writing and start sharing your works. This can help encourage you while making friends.
- Lastly, remember: “You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own…” - D.M. Dellinger