Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Confident Writer

You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.
Les Brown

I have noticed that a lot of newcomers come into the writing world lacking confidence. I don’t know if its their age, immaturity, low self esteem, or lack of confidence in their writing ability, but these folks need to learn from the ground up. Their first step is to join a writing community. This is where they take that first baby-step.

I’ve watched many join a writing community that are well versed, well spoken and darn good writers, still they lack the confidence needed to get them to the next level, and that is, publication! So they meander around the writing site, setting their writing free to the writing community, and get accolades on their writing and in essence get their confidence built up!

Now with the ‘newbies’ they call them, they are testing the water, dipping a toe in, seeing if it is warm enough to go swimming with the, I’ll call them ‘oldies’. The oldies are going to show the newbies the ropes and hopefully lead them in the right direction with their writing. Now some oldies are just as unprofessional and unconfident, so I think that is giving the newbs false leadership because then when the newbs decide the water IS nice warm and safe, they find they’ve jumped into shark infested waters that the oldies never warned them of at all!

Confidence is opening a vein. Have you ever walked into a crowded room, all eyes were on you, and your stomach started churning and gurgling? You stood there with beads of sweat starting to form on your brow and the palms of your hands were sweaty? That is your lack of confidence rearing it’s ugly head trying to get you to bolt right out the door. But in your confidence, you stand and walk through the throngs of people with a gentle smile, and you look at the people, straight in the eyes, and make your way to the buffet table!

A confident writer is one who has written a tale, has read the story and maybe even revised it, walks into his classroom and delivers one of the most outstanding short stories the people have ever read. They attack the grammar, fix a few sentences, tear apart your spellbinding work and you, you walk away from the buffet table feeling full as if you have eaten the entire table. Your peers liked your work so much, they felt it worthy to straighten a few things out with you. The confident writer goes back to the table, takes all of their advice, reshapes, re-forms the tale and brings it back to the classroom shiny and new.

They love it! Now the confident writer seeks a market for the story. Searches and searches until they have found a home for it, and when (not if) it gets published, you go back to your peers and they all let out a roaring clap and congratulate you.

Now the not-so-confident writer fears even pulling her/his work out for everyone to see. They’re the ones who either bolt out the door as soon as the eyes are upon them. Or they walk slowly to the buffet table, head lowered, never seeking eye contact with one individual. They eat (read others work), they nibble (give a little feedback) they mingle (befriend and enjoy the camaraderie), and soon, after seeing that the people are all just like him/her/them, the confidence starts to build and slowly but surely, they are sharing their work.

Whether good or bad, you will never ever get an ounce of confidence if you don’t walk in the door, and take a big old chomp out of what scares you the most! With fear you will always remain a newbie in a world of popular confident people.

My entire point here is this: Share your writing with confidence! Or you will remain a fearful newbie writer for a good long time!

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