Writing is a grueling process. It rips out your soul, tears at your confidence, and then smacks you in the face until you either give in or stop noticing it. In many ways it’s kind of like life, which is fitting since that is often what it’s trying to emulate in some fashion. Writing doesn’t offer an easy route. There are no mystical answers or guides that will tell you more than a general direction. For the most part when it comes to writing you need to just sit down write, and believe in yourself.
Now you may look at me and think, well what does this unpublished amateur think she’s doing? She can’t give advice. She doesn’t know jack and I’m not going to listen to her.
Fine, then bounce. I’ll wait.
You still there?
Alright. I may be unpublished, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. The fact that I put my butt in a seat almost every day and do something to improve my writing is what makes me a writer. I’m working on it. I’m producing. I’m creating. I’m finishing. So sure, you can go ahead and disregard everything I say if you want. That route is completely valid considering this is all one massive opinion anyway. I’m not here to be consoling and reassuring. I’m here to deliver some honest truth.
Writing is fucking hard. It’s more than just spitting out your thoughts onto the page. It’s more than just tweaking words until they make sense. Heck, it’s even more than just telling a cohesive story. Writing is a painful journey that in the end provides you with something you can show for it, whether you actually want real people to see it or not.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets easier over time. You start to learn the process. You know the pain you’ll feel when you cut that scene you absolutely loved. The fact that you even recognize that it needs to go is a stepping stone in the right direction. You’ll agonize over your work. There’s always something to fix, but eventually you’ll come to a point when you realize that hey this works just as it is. It’s not perfect (newsflash: it never is), but it’s something that you can be proud of. At least for the time, before you look at it again and realize there are a million more things for you to change.
Yet, here’s the nasty little kicker that people seem to gloss over time and time again, you need to believe in yourself and your writing if you want to move forward.
There are millions of people who claim they want to write. People who see their lives as stories or feel they have stories to tell. For any number of reasons, the majority of people never get beyond this. They stay forever in the “I’ve always wanted to write a novel” phase. For some people that’s just the way they are. They are never serious about writing. Then there are the people who want to write. The people who start to put words to the page, but let fear cripple them.
Fear and writing come hand in hand. Every time you write you create something that is straight from you. It’s completely possible to keep those words to yourself, but most people who write want to share. The sharing is the hard part. It forces you to open up this little passion of yours to someone else. It takes bravery to ask someone to read your story. What if they don’t like it? What if they think you’re crazy? What if they say you are a no talent hack who should find a real day job, or at least a better hobby? It’s scary and that’s not even when you ask for a critique. Every critique no matter how helpful, has the potential to crush an writer lacking confidence with seeming confirmation of how terrible they are.
Whether you suck or your don’t, being a writer requires confidence. If you don’t have it then you might need to rethink the endeavor or keep it a secret. Without confidence, you’ll spin your wheels and fall into a dangerous web that will prevent you from getting better. You need confidence to talk to people, to ask for help, to show people your work, to seek publication. All that requires you to be confident.