Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Believing in Yourself as a Writer is Vital


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

I have a confession. It’s hard to admit to the world but it’s true. I suffer from a severe lack of self-confidence.

Perhaps you chuckle and say, “Seriously?” But yes. It is true. From childhood, I have been fearful and lacking in self-confidence. Let me clarify, I had a wonderful childhood, with terrific parents so let go of any terrible thoughts you might be trying to diagnose. I’m simply being honest with you.

A lack of self-confidence is a common thing and if the truth is known, we’ve all fought the battle from time to time. My lack of confidence isn’t from childhood trauma, it’s simply part of who I am. It’s a weakness, not a disease or mental issue.

The difference between me and others is that 1) I admit it’s a weakness and 2) I’m not willing to allow it to freeze me in my tracks, no matter how hard it tries.

When it comes to our writing, we all face rejection and times when the words just won’t come. It’s part of the process of growing as an author. I’ve had very well-known authors talk with me about how they have fought through those moments of insecurity and it’s never easy. 

WHERE DOES A LACK OF SELF-CONFIDENCE COME FROM?

Sometimes it’s a lack of direction. This too is part of the process. As writers, we must experience different types and styles of writing to find where our niche is. There are times, this takes a while. When I began writing I thought I might write for children, little did I know, my heart was in adult fiction. I had to experience writing in different areas to find my sweet spot and know this was the direction I wanted to follow. Once I found that my confidence went up a few notches.

Sometimes it comes from having no physical support. This makes me sad having been raised by parents who supported me and encouraged me to try all sorts of things. Their encouragement taught me to try, seek out the desire, and decide if it was for me. Still, some writers do not have this type of support. What do you do if you don’t have this support? You begin by finding peers who share your love of writing. You spend time with them, learn with them, accept their encouragement and support. I began my first writing experience being part of an on-line critique group. From there, I grew to a point where I realized I needed to attend a conference. It’s not always easy, but you must reach out and seek peers.

Sometimes it comes from failure. It’s a joke with my friends. I’ve consistently been second place – to the point that my track coach in High School gave me the nickname Consistently Second Cindy. What do you think that did for my self-esteem? Yet what I found in myself, and it took some time to realize it, was despite the times I came in second, I never stopped striving. Eventually, I won. I have three best-selling books. Who could ask for greater proof that you are not second? My point is bloody knees should give us the incentive to push harder. I once told my brother I might be a loser on the track but I’m a winner in my effort. He has lovingly reminded me of that when I feel like my confidence wains. Pushing ahead, working to improve may not make me first place, but it certainly gives me a solid foundation. 

Sometimes you simply must believe in yourself. When I began writing novels, Appalachian Historical was called “literary”. Literary wasn’t “in.” Still, it was my niche. It was the sweet spot of my writing. Writing the narrative of my Appalachian stories in the lingo of the mountains, was not something folks did. It was frowned on, so when I got that first contract, my editor asked me why the narrative wasn’t more formal? My response was this. The story is in first person, it seems wrong to drop out of the character’s natural voice for the sake of formal. My character is telling the story. Why would she talk one way in dialogue and speak differently in the narrative? My editor was quiet for a moment before she said, “That makes perfect sense.” Going forward, my novels have remained such and one of the remarks readers give us, is “This writing is so real.” I had to believe in myself enough to give the editor a clear answer – to my surprise, she agreed.

It’s important to believe in yourself, be it for writing or your job. You’ve been gifted long before your birth, by the Father Himself, and if He believes in you that much…who are you to not believe? Even when the odds are stacked against you, plow through. You can do this. You can do this because you were chosen well in advance. It takes time and practice to hone your craft. A writer must focus and then first believe there is always room to learn but secondly, to believe in the gift and talent they have. Tell the stories God places on your heart and do not give in to fear or a lack of self-confidence. You will have your shares of ups and downs but success will follow. Now write and believe in yourself! 

TWEETABLE

Cindy K. Sproles is an author, speaker, and conference teacher. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the executive editor for christiandevotions.us and inspireafire.com. Cindy is the lead managing editor for SonRise Devotionals and also Straight Street Books, both imprints of LPC/Iron Stream Media Publications. She is a mentor with Write Right and the director of the Asheville Chrisitan Writers Conference held each February at the Billy Graham Training Center, the Cove, Asheville, NC. Cindy is a best selling, award winning novelist. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.

13 comments:

  1. Cindy,

    Thank you for this article. Everyone (including me) has self-doubts. The writers who get published are the ones who still have their fingers on the keyboard with their doubts. Many years ago before I had published any books, I sat late at a conference with some much published writers. Each one confessed their doubts and fears when they started writing a book (even though they had each done it successfully over and over). It's something each faced--and moved beyond. Rarely discussed (thank you) but definitely part of the process.

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

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  2. Thoughtful. Was good to meet you at FCWC this year

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  3. Glad you liked it. Good to meet you as well.

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  4. Thanks so much! The boost I needed.

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  5. So true that many of us lack self confidence. I know I did and still do. Your article is very helpful and encouraging. Thank you for it.

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  6. Thanks. We all need to realize this happens.

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  7. Thank You. February 9th was a dreadful day. Struggling with lack of confidence is an understatement. This was very timely for me. Good to know, I'm not alone.

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  8. Thank you, Cindy. This message encouraged me.

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  9. Thank you, Cindy -- these are important words and they struck a chord with me. My favorite line was you telling your brother, "I might be a loser on the track but I’m a winner in my effort." That can be hard to remember some days but if we keep putting in the effort, our work will pay off in some way. Thanks for the much needed reminder and encouragement.

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  10. Cindy,
    Thanks for the reminder and sweet encouragement. The struggle to write something that matters to readers and to finish the race is SO real. I agree, it's worth every moment of effort. :)

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