How to Build Writing Confidence
I know, I know.
You want to be a successful writer. You dream about what it’d be like to have your words read by thousands of people. You long to have raving fans ready to devour your latest work.
There’s one problem holding you back from reaching your writing goals. You don’t have the confidence you need to take your writing to the next level.
Writing is tough. Writing something remarkable is even more difficult. You can’t see the finish line because you’re stuck at the beginning and filled with self-doubt.
You can’t even face the page, let alone hit publish.
How do you gain the confidence you need to get over the hump?
How can you push past your self-doubt and sharpen your skills?
I know what it feels like to lack confidence in your writing. It’s debilitating and frustrating. I also know what it’s like to get out of a writing rut, build a consistent writing habit, and attack the keyboard with reckless abandon.
I’m here to help. My experiences have taught me a few things about dealing with insecurity, and I’ve learned some ways to grow as a writer in spite of it.
The first step in becoming a confident writer is dealing with your writing arch-nemesis.
The Invisible Enemy Attempting to Thwart Your Writing Career
Ironic, isn’t it?
We fight against an enemy that’s within us, but somehow isn’t us.
It’s the little voice in our mind who whispers negative thoughts. You can’t get him to shut up. Every time you even think about writing, he starts running his mouth.
“You suck at writing.”
“Why would anyone want to read your work? You’re a nobody.”
“You don’t have what it takes. Give up.”
I hear this voice every single day, yet I’ve continued to write.
I stopped wishing it would go away.
Now, I acknowledge its presence and move on to doing the work. It’s a waste of energy trying to rid myself of it.
I never get the voice to shut up for good, but I lower its volume each time I sit down and face the page.
You wish you could write without fear of failure. You wish the voice would stop talking.
You’re fighting against the reality of the situation, but accepting reality helps you take action. Acknowledge your doubts.
The voice isn’t going away.
It’s okay to be afraid.
Again — It’s okay to be afraid.
You need self-doubt, because it’s a sign you’re headed in the right direction.
You’re not afraid of watching television or going out for drinks because they’re not rewarding activities.
Your dream of becoming a great writer is scary because it’s rewarding to achieve.
I wish I could provide the “magic pill,” answer.
Every second you spend wishing your fear would go away is time you could spend getting better.
Writing is the only solution.
Here are a couple of strategies you can use to increase your chances.
Create the Right Type of Environment
Environment matters. When it comes to creating habits, your surroundings affect your actions.
Take dieting for example. You could say you’ll avoid eating the junk food in your house, but if you’re serious about your diet you’ll rid your home of junk food. This creates an environment designed for success.
My brother keeps a savings account at a different bank than the one he uses for his checking account. He has no card associated with it. The bank is on the other side of down, so he has to drive 45 minutes to withdraw money from it.
You can use your environment to “nudge,” your behavior in the right direction.
Create a welcoming writing environment to make it easier to sit down and write.
Pick your time to write. Lay out your writing space the night before. Collect and compile notes for your blog posts prior to writing. Remove any clutter in the area. Have your laptop open with a blank word document ready to go. Set a timer for your coffee maker so it pours right before you’re set to write.
Light a candle or play some soft jazz music — whatever you have to do.
A pristine, warm, and inviting space feeds your creativity. Set up your space. Sit down and write.
The next strategy will help you build momentum and avoid quitting.
The Chain Strategy
Buy a calendar. Set your daily writing goal. Make sure the goal is easy for you to achieve. Fifteen minutes of writing per day is better than zero.
Each day you complete a writing session, mark an x on the calendar with a red sharpie.
Continue your daily practice and continue marking the calendar. After a while, the x’s will form a large chain. Put the calendar somewhere prominent. Each day you’ll see the growing chain and you’ll be motivated to keep it going.
Momentum makes you a stronger writer. A visual representation of your momentum will fuel even more momentum. The chain will grow and you will grow.
Sometimes the creative juices just aren’t flowing.
There are exercises you can use to stimulate creativity. The point of these exercises is to put your brain in motion. Consider them “warm ups” to your writing practice.
Here are a few you can try:
After you’ve done one of these exercises you can move on to your daily writing practice.
This technique is dead simple and it works. I used it to come up with the ideas for my most popular blog posts. Here’s how it works. Write down ten ideas per day. The ten ideas can be about any subject. You could write ten blog posts ideas. Ten ideas for getting in better shape. Ten ideas for companies you could start. It doesn’t matter.
The point is to strengthen your “idea muscle.” James Altucher, the inventor of the practice, says after six months, you’ll be an idea machine.
These exercises are helpful, but they can’t replace the work. Use them to get you started, but remember the importance of the practice itself, because it’s the only way.
I’ve shown you a few ideas for becoming a more confident and productive writer, but you want to know how to become a successful writer.
Here comes the good part — the part where I tell you how to make it BIG.
How to Make $1,000,000,000,000,000 Dollars Writing
I hate empty promises like this.
I can’t guarantee you’ll make a great living writing. No one can, no matter how hard they try.
It’s big business to make big promises these days.
“Make six figures in six months.”
“Make your first $1,000 in seven days.”
“Sell 5,000 copies of your e-book with no writing skills.”
You can make a living writing, but isn’t a walk in the park to get there.
Success takes time.
It’s easy to get seduced by the stories of people at the top. They make it look easy. In reality, they worked their asses off, and they’re only letting you see the finished product.
Easy answers sell. You have to pay the price for the truth.
Don’t worry about monetizing your writing at first. Worry about improvement.
When you’re so good they can’t ignore you, opportunities will come your way.
I believe in you.
Not in a gimmicky, rah rah, type of way.
I believe in the power of practice. I believe anybody reading this is capable of becoming a great writer with practice.
If you practice enough, you’ll be amazed at your growth.
You’ll evolve and become a better version of yourself over and over again.
You have all the tools required to become a successful writer — a brain, two hands, and air in your lungs.
You don’t need anything else.
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