Not sure if this qualifies as a "writing craft" thread but seeing as how it helps to HAVE this when writing, I figured it might as well. Right? Well, in any case, just go with me on this.
Do any of you ever struggle with this when it comes to writing? And when I say "confidence," I mean confidence in not only your ability to write well but to give your characters and their story/stories the proper telling they deserve. Sometimes I struggle with it and I think it is what holds me back. Would availing myself of crit partners help?
Yes, I know. A lot of it is on me. Working on that part!
I think I know what you mean.
For me, confidence comes from two things.
1. Familiarity - Being comfortable in what you are doing (In this case writing)
2. Confirmation from relevant people that what you are doing is of a standard that you are happy with.
For example, for many years I have enjoyed writing simply for my own pleasure. I love writing and even enjoy reading my own work. I think that my work is good but of course I completely understand what it is I was trying to convey, if you know what I mean. The amount of confidence that is generated by my belief in my own ability is therefore limited.
I tried showing my work to family and friends but of course according to their critique I was some kind of literary genius with no flaws. Again not much confidence to be gained there!
I suppose that this is the main reason I have joined Writers Net. Everyone seems very honest and helpful. I intend to make a post to the Writer Critique section very soon. I will take a lot of confidence from knowing my strengths and indeed my weaknesses!
Same here, Andy. There have only been a few times I have shared my work with family and friends that they haven't raved about it. And thus I have long wondered were the compliments genuinely borne out of admiration for the work or familial/friendly bias. I used to write a LOT back when I was in middle and high schools, but that was . . . we'll just say years ago, shall we? Haven't written much lately, but I'm getting that itch in my fingers again. I've got a story to tell and it just want leave me alone. But, like I said, I want to do it RIGHT. I really like my characters, even the ones that -- in real life -- I would have little or nothing in common with, or that I would want to have a drink with now and again. But I digress. Oh well, onto the tasks at hand.
One simple bit of advice - DO NOT share with friends and family and expect an honest critique. Won't happen, unless your family is comprised of successful authors, and even then you have to wonder if what they say isn't motivated by jealousy. And if your friends and family do gush over it, well, they also gushed over your 3rd grade picture of a chicken made out of corn and other vegetables.
Unfortunately, no successful authors in my family. Not even any journalists. There are some artists of varying calibers. A few closet addicts. You get the point. And yes, most of them did gush over my 3rd grade artwork -- regardless of how hideous it was.
Find a writing mentor who can tell you what's good and bad about your writing and why. Anyone can tell you what they like or dislike - opinions are a dime a dozen - but not many can give you solid reasons WHY something is good or bad. If someone gives you a critique that includes vague discriptions like "clunky" or "doesn't work for me" without any solid reasoning behind it, thank them, and continue your search for someone who knows what they're talking about.
Join a writer's group. Besides being enjoyable (usually), sometimes you can find a mentor. Myself, I've found the best way to find a mentor is to network with people who earn their living writing. Journalists, technical writers, advertising writers...all of them spend a lot of time around writing and writers, and there's a decent possibility that they personally know a book author. That's your target - someone who is actually doing what you want to do.
So look at the bylines in your local newspaper and try to have lunch with some of those writers. Or better yet, the managing editor of the newspaper. The higher up the chain you go, the better the contacts.
Last edited by John Oberon; 06-18-2012 at 03:29 AM.