“If you’re going to be a true artist, someone who actually creates work that matters, despite his or her own inner chaos, you must, absolutely, positively must, have confidence in yourself and be an enthusiastic advocate of your own work.”
I’ve recently begun to write a new play but I’ve been worrying about my ability to write it: Is this idea the right one? Will this play be any good? Can I write it? Can I write it well?
In the past, when I’ve been plagued with doubts I’ve done my best to ignore them and shake them off. Sometimes, I’ve succeeded. Sometimes, they’ve continued to itch until I’ve scratched my resilience and self belief red raw.
The other day I came across this article, retweeted by New Writing South, by the Positive Writer, Bryan Hutchinson. Bryan recommends crushing your writing doubts by acknowledging them and writing about them. As the doubts were starting to niggle again, I decided not only to give this a go but to take it to the next level by contradicting my fears. And I’m so glad I did! The experience was uplifting, positive and reinvigorated by optimism! And in the spirit of being confident about who I am, I’m now sharing this with you. The next time you are writing and find yourself irritated by doubts, why not try this exercise yourself?
I’m not clever enough.
I am not writing for brain surgeons: I’m writing for my people. I’m talking to them. And if there is a market, the “clever” people will want my work.
I’m too old.
Age is experience. I have something to say now. I have knowledge I didn’t possess when I was younger.
My writing is not what “they” are looking for, I’m not subversive enough, I’m not edgy / current enough.
Good writing, like cream will rise to the top. What I want to say is what somebody out there will want to hear. I’ve found my writers. I know what I like and so it follows that my audience will find me.
I am not what they are looking for. I’m not a middle aged man with contacts from a privileged background. I don’t have a room of my own. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not…
I can only be who I am, as powerhouse personal fitness trainer Jillian Michaels says “everybody else is taken.” And good writing taps into universal themes. I am human, writing about human experiences. I will be able to connect with other humans. That’s it.
I don’t write well enough!
I can write well. And when I don’t, I can usually spot it. I have tools and checks I can use to improve my work and make it great!
Maybe it’s time to give up and get a “proper” job.
I’ve tried doing a proper job: it made me miserable. Writing is what I was meant to do. It’s where I flow. It’s how I express myself. I am living the dream! I am creating! I am so lucky to be in a position where I am able to do that.
I’m intimidated by how good other writers are. I wish I could write like them.
Read them, study them and learn from their greatness.
Isn’t that copying?
I can only write how I write. My voice will always come through to make something unique and wonderful.
What if what I say is wrong? Or causes offence? Or stirs up a shit storm? What if I get negative feedback?
I am a good person, with good intentions. People will always disagree with me, not everybody will have the same thoughts as I do. I can learn from other people’s reactions. I can’t be afraid to fail to the extent that I don’t share my work. If I don’t share, I can never succeed.
“Dream!” he said. “Don’t be afraid to have dreams……Because four years ago, I was as far away from this as you could imagine. And look what’s happened! If you work hard enough and you’re not afraid to dream, and you’re not afraid to fail…..everybody fails. I’ve had more failures than I’ve had success. But I’m not afraid to fail. And every now and again…” Chris Coleman
“Believe in yourself, stop apologising for yourself. Be an enthusiastic advocate for your writing and watch it fly!” Karen Elizabeth Miller
If you liked this, read:
Time for Change