Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Confidence Is Important In Writing

I love dark entertainment. It doesn't matter if it's books, movies, television shows, or video games to me.

There was this television show that I started watching recently. It's called "Flesh And Bone." It's a dark television show about ballerinas. The main character has practiced so hard in the first episode that she is able to easily rip off her own toenail. There's blood on her hands, but she pushes herself and binds her foot up. She sucks up the pain because she is up for an audition for a paying ballerina position. One of the teachers rejects her as soon as she starts talking.

But she remembers that toenail. She remembers that earlier she ran away from a painful situation and she knows she deserves this opportunity. So she asks for another chance. She could have bowed her head and walked away like the other girls, but she stands up for herself instead. And she passes the audition with flying colors.

Why? Because she had confidence. People without confidence bow their head and agree when someone tells them they failed. People with confidence, keep trying and believing. They stand up for themselves.

I know that people say that the most important thing to have in the publishing industry is thick skin, but I disagree. If you have confidence, you don't even need a thick skin. If someone doesn't believe in you, it doesn't hurt you because you believe in you.

In fact, I believe that the reason some authors get angry at one star reviews is that secretly, deep down inside, they wanted to be validated. They don't feel confident in themselves and their writing, so when they see anything that's not positive written about makes them feel bad about themselves. They get defensive and sometimes they lash out, making the whole thing worse.

If you are a self-published author, like myself, then you have only one person who believes in you: YOU. You don't have a publishing industry standing behind you or an agent submitting your story to various places. You have to do it all yourself.

I'll tell you something that was previously a secret. That anthology that I recently published with? I was terrified when I submitted my short story to them. I've written several short horror stories in the past few years, including that one, and all of them, including that one, have been rejected by the magazines I've submitted them to. If I hadn't submitted anyway, though, I wouldn't have gotten to see my pen name in print for the first time.

If you are not confident as a writer, you are not going to try for the opportunities that are presented to you. You're not going to network with people the way you are supposed to. You won't know how to use your contacts to accomplish things.

If you are not confident as a writer, you will hold back when you are writing. You won't dare to write in your own special way. You'll try to write like everyone else because you believe in them and not yourself.

If you are not confident as a writer, you will not submit your stories to different places. Yes, even in self-publishing you must deal with submissions. Sometimes there are awards you can try for or reviews from bloggers. If you are insecure, you won't bother. Because you "know" before you even ask, that they aren't going to accept you.

If you are not confident as a writer, then you won't be able to justify with your family why you need money to pay for an editor or advertising. You'll feel guilty for making them survive on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for a week because you need the extra money. Eventually, you'll stop using the money on yourself because it's just your "stupid" writing and what does it matter anyway.

You'll be robbed of time by people who don't think your writings important. You will agree with them.

And you won't tell anyone about your books. Your friends and family will be shocked when they find out you published something. You won't have the support of them. You'll never know you have the support of fans because you'll never mention your book to anyone.

You won't know when to tell people 'no.' You'll always do what your editors and critique partners say, even if it destroys your story. You'll regret everything you write. Because you don't believe in yourself and your abilities.

I know how it feels to lack confidence, so I hope as a writer that you don't lack confidence.

It's easy to believe in yourself when you have a team of people complimenting you and backing you up, but when you are standing alone, sometimes against criticism, it's difficult.

But it's okay to be confident. It's okay to reach for the stars. To sometimes publish before you are ready because you will learn and to strive for goals that seem impossible. Believe in yourself and do it anyway.

It doesn't matter what other people say. Their words can't hold you back.