Monday, May 23, 2011

Confidence: A Key Element of Writing

I am back from the Sydney Writers’ Festival. It was a truly fantastic experience and I met so many wonderful people. I attended workshops, listened to discussion panels, volunteered as a helper and soaked in the amazing atmosphere.

The one piece of advice that stood out above the rest during the festival was that as writers we must have confidence.

How can we sell our work if we don’t believe in it?
How can we negotiate contracts if we don’t think we are worth it?
How can we find our unique voice, if we aren’t brave enough to write from that hidden place within us?
How will we ever succeed in publication if we think it’s not possible?
How can we brave the criticisms of editors, book reviewers and the general public if we listen to our doubts?
How can we even finish a book if we think it will go nowhere?

This is why we need confidence -- so that nothing can hold us back.

After you've been shaken, what are the things that make you feel confident again as a writer? 

I’ll write in more detail about the festival in posts to come. Right now, I'm still recovering (lol) plus I haven't written for a week and I'm eager to get back to my manuscript. I'm inspired!

Also forgot to mention this blog turned one year old during the festival! YAY!


  1. other people can help a lot in making you feel more confident.

    Congrats on the first birthday, and it feels like only yesterday I was giving you milk bottles and changing your dippers :PP

  2. Smiles to you. Conferences are always greatly inspiring.

  3. It's easy to have your confidence shaken, but if you are determined, then nothing will hold you back! You just have to keep plowing forward!

  4. My best way to regain confidence as a writer is to get in there and write!! Confidence is everything, what a great reminder! I've often thought I'd like to go to a writing conference and tweet the events nonstop. This one sounds great!

  5. I find confidence in withstanding some rather harsh critique and still feeling okay about my writing in the end. LOL. Of course it does help that I got nice (but also honest) critique from others at the same time... lol

  6. It was great to see you at the YA workshop! My head's still spinning as I go through my notes - so much information :)

    I write what I like, so I like what I write. I really enjoy it that way and know I've at least got one reader :)
    Confidence is not an issue for me - I actually like finding things I suck at - gives me much amusement. But I see what you mean, I know so many writers just starting out that don't want to call themselves writers - they think that's some term they have to be awarded. But I say have a go - what's the worst that can happen? (that attitude has actually gotten me into a few jams though...)

    Great post and look forward to hearing all about your experiences with the festival!

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  7. Welcome back! I am sure you met so many interesting people.

    I rarely feel a lack of confidence as a writer. There are a lot of us out there and we each are fit for a particular niche. Not everyone is going to want to read what I write, but a certain group of people will.

    Where I lack confidence at the moment is in finding representation. The current query system feels almost designed to stamp the heart out of the mightiest of lions. :(

  8. Also, I agree with Dezmond. Friends are the lifeblood of our confidence and spirit.

  9. My best source of confidence is in knowing that God has called me to this task. If I have written what pleases Him, that is all that matters.

  10. Glad you're back!
    The support of other writers, especially those online, help me rebuild the confidence.

  11. Glad to hear you're inspired! I feel more confident when I read something of mine that I love. Getting positive feedback is always confidence inspiring. I find my writerly self-esteem to be on a rollercoaster--it goes up and down depending on the day!

  12. Congrats on the year!! :)

    Confidence comes and goes in waves. It can be so darn elusive!! I'm working on it!

  13. ahh... confidence is also what gives us our VOICE. And it's so tough in the face of rejections to hang onto it... what do I do? Hmm. I try to get positive feedback from folks who love my writing. Try to focus on that.

    It's one of our challenges! :o) So jealous about the conference--I bet it was awesome! <3

  14. Happy blogthday!! I agree that a community such as this helps tremendously in rebuilding confidence. We're all in this together :D

  15. Dezzy, yes, surrounding ourselves with supportive, encouraging people keeps me going. And yes, my blog is young compared to yours :P

    Mary, yes, like our plots, it's good to keep moving forward ;)

    KarenG, yes! Let's write, write and write some more!

    Trisha, yep, crit partners who know how to deliver a blow and make you smile at the same time are golden.

  16. Charmaine, it was awesome to finally meet you in person! That particular workshop was the best out of all of the ones I went to. There was HEAPS of useful information. Mega-loads! Also, after meeting you, I believe you when you say confidence is not an issue. Hehehe.

    Suze, yes, the query process is particularly difficult, but if i were easy, everyone would be doing it ;)

    Pam, oh yes, God's confidence is what gives me my confidence.

  17. Alex, absolutely! My online buddies are awesome!!

    Sarah, I can relate to the rollercoaster.

    Jemi, thanks :) Hehe, same here.

    LTM, yes, I love, love, love positive feedback! And yes the festival was amazing!

    Jamie, Thanks! We ARE all in this together :)

  18. I think being insecure is part and parcel of being or wanting to be a story writer! I guess getting some of your stories accepted or even just liked by a complete stranger boosts confidence - for a short time! Take care

  19. Writing and, yes, friends are vital to every writer, in my opinion. Really, it's like the old rule our parents always told us: If you fall off a bike, you get up, dust yourself off, and get right back on. If we let every rejection keep us from writing, how in the world are we supposed to get better and stronger?

  20. I ignore the extreme confidence and the extreme doubt and find some place in between!

  21. Wow. Sounds as if you had an amazing time. For me, when my confidence takes a knock, what picks me back up is my over-active imagination and a love for words. An idea for a story will pop into my head and I think, here I go again!

    Ellie Garratt

  22. First of all Happy Blogoversary, Lynda. Missed you and your posts. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Whenever my confidence takes a beating, I have to write something new at that point: a story, an article, even a blog post.Writing helps restore my confidence.

  23. Happy One Year!! That's amazing, given your oodles of followers. :) And yep, hard to recover after your confidence is shaken. To feel confident again? Write more, learn to write better, and perhaps get a different opinion!

  24. Congrats on the blogoversary!! And I'm glad you had such a good time. Conferences really do inspire, don't they?

    And this was a good reminder for me. Had my faith-as-a-writer shaken over the weekend, still struggling a little to crawl out of that depression pit. It's hard sometimes, but confidence is what I need to keep going. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  25. As a writer, I must admit I've no confidence in my work at all. I have no idea if a story is going to sell or not. That's strange, I know.

    But I skip the whole confidence issue. I sub my work, let the editor decide.

    I know I've got a certain amount of game. And I let the editor worry about the rest -- easy.

  26. Here here! Not alwayes easy when you're getting knocks of course, but you've got to keep the faith!

  27. Hurray for conferences! I'm a little jealous, but I love what you took away from it. I think I needed to hear that. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Yay on being eager to get back to your MS. Glad you had a great conference.

    There are moments along the way [among the rejection] that shine. I hold onto those and replay each and every one whenever I need to. I should write them down in a journal. Hmmm. Great idea. Thanks, Lynda. :)

  29. Shelly, oops, I missed your comment. Yes, conferences boost the confidence ;)

    Old Kitty, so true. It does come with the territory and yes it's fantastic when a stranger loves something you've written.

    Alyssia, exactly!

    Laura, that's good plan!

    Ellie, hehe sounds familiar :)

    Rachna, yes, writing something new makes it fresh again.

  30. Carol, haha I love the suggestion of getting a different opinion :)

    Donea, I hope you regain your confidence quickly after the weekend. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster at times.

    Deborah, hahaha it's good you have an editor you trust :)

    D U Okonkwo, exactly

    Shari, thanks

    M Pax, yes, you should write them down in a journal! :)

  31. Confidence really is key. I know when my confidence is up I'm more prolific.

  32. I'm glad you had a great time at the conference and can't wait to hear more.

    For me, when I start to lose my confidence, I go over some of my old good reviews read them.

  33. Holly, yes, exactly.

    Clarissa, gotta love the good reviews :)

  34. Thanks for this reminder! Confidence is so crucial. When I feel shaken, it helps me to identify why I feel that way and also to not indulge in too much beating up of myself. Instead my time is better spent finding ways to re-inspire myself.

  35. I think when you apply yourself to do anything that you want to be passionate about, you need have confidence. After all, you are your worst critic, so you need to be your biggest fan, too. It's the same way when you play sports, interview for a job- your writing reflects it.


  36. Amy, yes, exactly. Besting ourselves up is wasted time that could be put into our creative energies.

  37. Sara, I like that: we need to be our biggest fan too :)

  38. Great post. After my confidence has been shaken, the best thing I've found is to go back and re-read one of my favorite scenes. It reminds me why I write and how much I love my stories. :)


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