There is no doubt, putting ourselves and our words out there makes us surprisingly vulnerable and adopting a successful author mindset and building confidence is no easy task. Those words you have toiled and pondered over, those emotions you have poured into characters and narrative, and those confidences you have held between yourself and your characters, are a very personal piece of you.
Letting them out into the world is a daunting thing. At that point they are out there for all to see, to judge, to form opinions on and to twist and make their own.
It’s difficult not to feel wounded if someone doesn’t enjoy your writing or dislikes one of your characters or just simply attacks your writing. After all, writing is a pursuit of passion. We pour our hearts and souls into it and with a few poorly chosen words from people who just don’t love it as much as you do, our confidence can be trampled into the ground.
As a writer, you need the confidence to not only write the book without feeling held back by what others may think or say, but you also need the confidence to promote yourself and your book.
Building up confidence is key and is something we all must learn to do. A writer needs a thick skin, and an even thicker shield against harsh words and criticism.
We must learn to take what we can from the criticism and turn it around to benefit us rather than knock us down.
But how do we do that? Exactly what does it take to build that confidence that accompanies a thick skin and a hard-as-nails approach?
We’re not going to give you the usual advice, because we all know that to become a better writer, we need to write and write and write, and that, in theory, should help us to build up our confidence. Instead we are focusing on the mindset issues, because you could be the best writer in the world, but if you don’t believe it, or believe in yourself, you will never build up your confidence.
Affirmations and Visualisations
Without wanting to sound too ‘woo-woo’, being able to visualise yourself as a successful, confident writer will bring you a lot closer to where you want to be – emotionally, mentally and physically – rather than focusing on the negatives.
There is something to be said for acknowledging that the things we focus on become our reality.
If you have a few moments to yourself in the morning, instead of reaching for your phone or starting off your day thinking of all the things that need to be done, take a few moments to yourself to visualise who you would be if you were a confident, successful writer, how your day would look and how you would feel.
Get into the habit of doing this every morning and set the tone for your day – although remember setting the tone for the day doesn’t mean think it and then leave it behind. Keep that tone with you for as long as you can throughout the day!
Do this – at all costs!
It’s so easy to look at a successful writer out there and compare yourself, but what we often forget, is that the writers you are usually comparing yourself to, have been doing this for years.
They are, and I ‘m afraid it’s a tough pill to swallow, literally streets ahead of you.
They have already had a chance to build up a following, build up a fanbase, make a name for themselves and establish themselves in the publishing industry.
They didn’t, however, start out like this.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s a long, long journey – definitely a marathon and not a sprint.
So sit back and really enjoy the journey you are on.
Build a Compliment Board
For some reason, we always seem to remember the harsh words and never the good.
Take them all in, the good with the bad. Learn what you can from the bad – even if it’s just to recognise that sometimes, the most troll-like of comments come from a place of that person’s own issues and self-reflection, rather than your failings. And as for the good, gather them together, print them out, pin them to a board, somewhere you can see them, and let them buoy you up every time you feel a little down or things get tough.
Know that You Are Not Alone
Join a writing group, join a Facebook group for writers, read blogs or listen to podcasts of other writers talking about their own mindset struggles.
The more you realise it isn’t just you, and that even the most successful of writers have wobbles every now and then, the more you will realise it is not just about talent or capability, it is about attitude and mindset.
It definitely helps to have like-minded people around you who know what you are going through and can support you through it.
Get Constructive Feedback
Look for feedback amongst people who know what they are talking about.
It’s always great to get an opinion from your mother, or your daughter, or close friends and family, but sometimes it’s hard to take the positive feedback seriously, because you know they love you and, well, more often than not they will love what you do regardless.
Get some feedback from an unbiased third party, but make sure they know what they are talking about, and have experience of your genre and the world of publishing.
Make sure they know how to not only give you constructive feedback, but also advise you on how best to rectify any issues that keep cropping up.