Thursday, September 02, 2010

Maintaining your confidence

Here is some great advice for writers (I guess for all types of writers) who have confidence issues (HOW SUCCESSFUL WRITERS KEEP UP THEIR CONFIDENCE):

Self-confidence is the single most essential ingredient an author needs to succeed, since good writing is never that quick or easy. To keep at it requires energy, discipline, and a sense of humor.

The most accomplished and productive writers I work with are able to sustain a level of assurance and optimism. And that's even when they're feeling blocked, burned out, and unappreciated.

It's admirable and a little amazing they're able to do this, since there's so much hard work and delayed gratification in writing a book.

I've worn two hats in my professional life - as an acquisitions and development editor and also as a licensed therapist specializing in crisis intervention. This has given me a useful perspective on what helps writers sustain their confidence during the often grueling marathon of producing a good book.

There are no universal cookie-cutter techniques writers can use to keep up their hopes and dreams. Each writer is unique, with an individual temperament, culture, and developmental process. But here are some general suggestions all writers can consider to help soldier through periods of doubt.

Stay connected

Withdrawal and isolation can be debilitating and reduce creative energy. Writers can work with other people doing research, brainstorming plot ideas, and building characters, but ultimately writing is a solitary occupation, with hours alone facing that blank screen or that big empty pad.

Consequently a conscious effort to reach out is the only way to prevent isolation and loneliness. Maintain contact with other people, loved ones, family, friends, and colleagues. You don't have to ask for help, just engage as much as possible in regular human relationships. Look for people who can make you laugh out loud. Get out of your head, get out of the house, go and talk to another person. You don't have to be alone. Repeat: you are not alone.



Damyanti said...

The "Stay connected" part is such good advice. Writers can be so solitary. They tend to forget about getting out a bit, and talking to others.

Zafar Anjum said...

Absolutely. Staying connected with the world at large is crucial. It could be through friends and relatives. I believe that's why writers like Najib Mahfouz and R K Narayan were so active in their communities. They went around and met common people. Some writers like to write in cafes. Perhaps that is their way of connecting with others, their style of staying in touch.