Writing for Confidence

If I Bring You RosesAuthor Marisel Vera recently wrote a powerful blog post about the doubts that are an inherent part of being a writer human:

“In that closet, surrounded by clothes, I had to face it—the simple truth— that I might never have a published novel. It humbled me to realize that it might be out of my power to achieve my dream regardless of how hard I tried and how much I worked. It just might not happen. I had given it my best and I could be proud of that. I thought of where I came from: the Chicago ghetto where being afraid was part of life and how my parents instilled in their children the determination to do better and get out. Did I have the right to give up when they didn’t?” Read More

Regardless of whether or how often we are published, we can use the very act and vocation of writing to learn to distinguish the inner voice that is our true voice from the cacophony of doubts and advice and fears. It’s a lifelong task that everyone faces, but the unavoidable, documented rejection that is a part of being a writer gives us a very special opportunity.

I’m not talking about waving a huge, foam #1 finger in the air or chanting mantras of success. What I have in mind is a more important underlying sense of confidence that supports and sustains us each day, whatever the mail or inbox may bring or someone says to us, a sense that we are doing exactly what we want to do with a  simultaneous “determination to do better” that is uplifting rather than depressing. This need is not unique to writers, but we can use our writing to gain this confidence and allow it to spill over to the rest of our life.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

6 thoughts on “Writing for Confidence

  1. YEAH!

    Some times I fear that I’m not good enough, that I’m not getting better, that I’m stuck and that I don’t have it in me … But then I think: “Yeah, and if you ever have children, you can nevertheless read them your stories or they can read them later … And maybe, one day, one of my grandchildren will say to one of his/her friends: ‘Yo, my granny writes – and cool stuff!’ – and that’s all that counts.” 😉

  2. We need to expand what we mean by “being a writer” and getting published. Before computers and the Internet, it meant getting published in paper form. But consider this: many people today write blogs that get hundreds, if not, thousands of readers. If so many people read and enjoy your online work, if they derive inspiration from your words, why get so upset if you cannot make it as a traditional novelist? Aren’t we too hard on ourselves by elevating one type of writing over another?

    I began thinking about this about two years ago when I took a creative writing class. I was thinking, “Oh, if I don’t have a novel or a book of short stories published, I will considered myself a failure.” Then I realized that it can’t possibly be true. In 2003 I started a blog called MuniWireless.com which I turned into a niche publishing company with conferences, seminars, webinars and a quarterly magazine. I have written hundreds of articles for MuniWireless, which have been influential in getting cities and counties to deploy wired and wireless broadband service. Through my articles, I helped gather together people from different walks of life to defeat several anti-municipal broadband laws that the telecom and cable incumbents wanted to pass in different states to hamper competition.

    That kind of writing made a big difference. By thinking of it as somehow less worthy than novel writing or short story writing, I was selling myself short. The power of words exists in many different forms. If you love writing, consider other outlets for your creative ability and don’t sell yourself short just because it does not come in the form or a novel or a collection of short stories on paper.

    Writing is just writing – no matter what form it takes.

    • I think, these are good points – it always depends on how you define “published”, and it’s true that people with hundreds of readers are successfull, too. 🙂

      Nevertheless – for me, “published” will always mean “being published as print”, since I don’t like ebooks and the “real stuff” is very important to me …

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