Friday, November 03, 2006

Confidence: A Writer's Survival Kit

By Matt Barrington

Congratulations! You've made a grand step towards your goal by seeking out information on writing. Just be reading this article, you're making progress toward your dreams.

But let's face it. Writing, even just for fun, is a very scary exercise. It exposes our true selves to the world around us, whether the world knows what it's looking at or not. I've never met a writer who could take every part of themself out of their work and produce anything other than mindless drivel. But in exposing ourselves in such a way, we are preparing to be hurt, be ridiculed, and even insulted for our work. Building a thick skin is vital to the survival of our worlds, and yet how many people with untapped potential have you met who don't write because they're "not that good"? Probably several, and if you don't know any, they might be too shy to talk aobut it.

How does anyone survive as a writer, or artist of any kind for that matter? The answer, as is usually the case, is sublimely simple. We must build ourselves up so high in our own minds that no one else can touch us. We must grow as writers and people to the point that no foolish comment from friend or family member will be felt as anything more than a featherstroke on our skin. It must be felt, there is no way around that, but it must not be felt fatally.

How to grow that big, you ask me? Let me ask you this, how do you get to Carnegie hall? We can achieve confidence in any aspect of ourselves by practice. Day in, and day out, practice, practice, practice. When we dream about writing, think about writing, and find ourselves writing everywhere we go, then we'll find our greatest growth is happening. Become obsessed! Allow yourself to dwell on improving and have fun while you do it! Don't listen to what others say about there being no future in it. We don't write for the future, we write to feel alive in the right now, and if it lasts for the next few nows, more's the better.

Confidence gained through practice is by far the most potent form. Even if you don't feel great about what you're writing, keep doing it. Eventually, even if it takes years, you'll write something great, and you'll know it. When you do, no one can take that from you. It's a moment that will help define you in your own mind as a writer.

1 comment:

ann said...

My problem is that when I write or speak, the words I'm trying to convey don't come out right. How does one get over this? Also the stories I like to write have conversation in them, and I don't know how to correctly put conversation in my writing. How does one properly do this?