Tag Archives | confidence in writing

Confidence Zappers and Confidence Boosters

It is extremely hard to write when our confidence has been zapped. Has anyone been there? I have been. *waves hand* Sometimes the funk lasts for a week or so. I’ve realized one thing. No one is going to pull me out of it except myself.

Confidence Zappers:

  • A first critique of your first chapter when you figured you didn’t have to revise because your writing was so good.
  • A first form rejection letter from an agent or editor.
  • A first or second or third negative review.
  • A first, second, third or fourth pass on a full manuscript request.
  • A hard critique after you’ve revised a million times.
  • Every time you jump on Twitter or the blue boards, all you see are book deals and agent signings. (Okay, this mainly is hard when you’re already down to begin with.)
  • You read a super, awesome, terrific, better than licking-the-brownie-batter-off-the- bottom-of-the-bowl book. The kind of book you wish you’d written. And realize you might never be able to. Or you feel that way.

Okay, these are just somewhat valid reasons why a writer could feel discouraged. There are always the invalid reasons like: it’s raining or the kids squeezed the toothpaste all over the sink and peed on the floor or you don’t like your new haircut or the wind changed directions or you’re exhausted. The list could go on forever.

Confidence Boosters:

  • Pressing send for the first time.
  • A first personal rejection with some compliments.
  • A first partial or full request.
  • I’m just going to guess and say signing with an agent or getting a book deal.
  • A kind, encouraging word from a writer friend.
  • The idea that self-publishing is losing its stigma. And is a valid option.
  • Brainstorming and getting ideas.
  • Feeling that first draft love.
  • The realization that rejections really aren’t personal.
  • Learning to separate yourself from the process. (Hard. To. Do.)
  • Watching a great movie or book and feeling inspired.

And I think the biggest confidence booster is having realistic expectations. To be able to judge your writing and realize you’re learning but still have work to do. And to be happy and content with where you are on the journey.

What pulls you out of a funk of discouragement? Or what puts you there?

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Confidence can cripple or catapult your writing.

My son has stated more than once he wants to be a professional baseball player. But, hey, I’ve stated I want to publish books. I don’t judge people’s dreams.

His first step toward the major leagues and making millions a year was All Star tryouts for a U11 summer league.

There were 45 kids trying out for 15 spots. No pressure.

I cheered him on. Every time he fumbled the ball, a part of me was crushed. Every time he made a good catch I wanted to leap around and shout for joy.

At the end of the 3 hours, he was tired. The balls coming at him were harder and faster than he was used to. And his confidence dipped way below average. His shoulders slumped. He moved slower. And he couldn’t field even one ball. Not one. Even ones he normally could.

While he waited his turn, he’d wipe the tears with his shirt. I tried not to burst into a fit of blubbering on the sideline. My throat ached. My heart broke. I wanted to hug him so bad. I would’ve battled giants and slayed dragons to reach him.

With his confidence sapped, his ability to play dropped significantly.

Later that day, I used my mommy powers to encourage him. I said, “If you really want this and want to make the team next year then you need to put in more time. You need to sacrifice swimming time this summer and ask Dad to hit balls with you at the park. Twice a week, for an hour.”

I went on to tell him that the surrounding towns have better organized baseball programs. Other teams practice 2 times a week and hit the batting cages. His team had one practice a week due to lack of field space.

He perked up. He understood. He had a plan. And he was willing to make the sacrifice.

Are you?

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