Do you believe in yourself as a writer? Do you believe in your story? A simple shift in your mindset might help you see more progress with your writing and feel more satisfied with your writing life.
I used to be the kind of person that liked to prepare for the worst. I told myself it was the best way to look at things because I’d be less upset or put off when bad things happened. And it would only be an added bonus when things worked out, right? I’d plan extra time for revision, always assuming there would be horrid plot holes, awkward dialogue, and drastic character flaws. I’d expect the worst from my story before I even started writing it. I was so focused on what could go wrong, how horrible my story could be that I didn’t leave much energy to think positively about myself as a writer or my writing.
I thought I was doing myself a favor, but I was wrong. My writing definitely needs revision, and I do like to buffer a little extra time, but it’s not usually as bad as I think it’s going to be. I’ve stopped expecting the worst and tried to be more realistic, more positive.
I let myself believe in my writing and my ability as a writer.
How to Believe in Yourself as a Writer
Why Should You Believe in Yourself?
If you don’t believe in yourself you obviously won’t get very far. If you even start. But beyond that, there is so much power that comes from believing in yourself. The ability to believe in yourself isn’t always easy and it might take consistent effort to keep up the faith. But it is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer, and as a human being. Believing in yourself is an important characteristic that can keep you going when writing gets hard.
Further Reading: The Most Essential Characteristic of a Powerful Writer
How Do You Believe in Yourself as a Writer?
Ultimately, it’s a choice. You have to decide to believe in yourself. Others can believe in you, but it’s not the same as believing in yourself. And nobody can force you to do that. You have to decide you want to believe in yourself. You have to find the reasons you believe in yourself. I’ll share a few reasons why I believe in myself, and I hope they encourage you to believe in yourself. But that’s your choice to make.
Reason #1: Know Why You Write
I believe in myself, because I know why I’m writing. I write for MANY reasons, but mostly because I absolutely love it. I cannot imagine not writing. Sure, I have days where it’s the last thing I want to do. But overall, I know I’d be sad if I stopped writing.
Remembering why you write is one of the best things you can do to believe in yourself as a writer. Take a moment to think about why you write, and write it down.
Maybe you want to be a writer because of the way you feel when you read a good book. Maybe it’s the voices in your head that are begging you to tell their story. Maybe writing is therapeutic. Maybe it’s something else entirely.
Everyone can and should have their own reason. There is no right or wrong reason to want to write. But whatever your reason is, you must always remember! That reason, that integral part of who you are or want to be, is a gift and the foundation to believing in yourself.
When writing is hard for any number of valid reasons, don’t quit and don’t stop believing in yourself! Remembering your why will give you a reason to keep believing no matter what.
Reason #2: Focus on What You do Well
Rather than preparing for the worst, I’ve been trying to focus on what I do well. This has been so much more useful! When I tried to prepare for the worst, I thought I was building a safety net and saving myself from the surprise of feeling upset when things went wrong. But I didn’t like the way I felt when I expected the worst. I felt like a negative person. Not only did my worst nightmare rarely happen, but I would spend precious time and energy worrying about it.
It’s been so much better to focus on my strengths as a writer. Some of my biggest strengths are adding emotion, creating interesting characters, and being thoughtful about word choice. As I focus on these strengths, I see them throughout my writing. This makes me feel happier about my writing, and cultivates a more positive and motivating writing attitude. I want to write, because I see the good in my writing.
You should also focus on what you do well. Maybe you are really good at thinking of authentic, realistic characters or interesting story ideas. Maybe you write authentic dialogue. It could be that you like to try new things and challenge yourself. Your strengths might relate to the reason you want to write, but hopefully you are starting to get a bit more specific. I want you to realize that the reason you want to write is because there is something about it that you are good at. And that is what you need to focus on. Look for what you are good at, and you will find it.
There is a lot of power in what we think. And I am a firm believer that we look for what we want to find.
Reason #3: Focus On What Could Go Right in Your Life
Focusing on what I do well helped me believe that other things could go well too. I began to believe that some of my biggest struggles didn’t have to be as big of a problem as they always seemed to be. I often struggled to find time and energy to write. I have a routine I like to follow, but some days, I don’t have as much time as I prefer. Rather than letting this be a big problem, I simplify my routine. I tell myself that I will find time to find progress in my writing life, and so I just expect it to happen. This helps me make it happen, and I’ve been writing more consistently. Writing more consistently, and expecting my writing life to be satisfying has helped me believe in myself.
Rather than assume you won’t have time to write or you’ll be too tired after a long day of work, school, or parenting, try the opposite. Expect that you will find time to write. Tell yourself that you will have enough energy to write the next chapter or revise that tricky scene. If you normally write for an hour but only have 15 minutes, expect it to be enough time to make some progress. When you expect good things in your writing life, you will see more of what is going well.
Reason #4: Focus On What Could Go Right in Your Writing
My biggest struggle within my actual writing has always been plot. I’ve never had much faith in my ability to write a good enough plot. And I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t know how to revise the plot to make it work. But there has never been any real reason to assume my plot would be so awful. So I stopped expecting it and it has been easier to see the strengths in my plot. When I write I try to tell myself that the story is good and it will work out. And day by day, I’m believing more and more that my writing is good.
You can try this too. Tell yourself that you will find the perfect word or metaphor. Believe that you will come across the perfect name for your rebellious yet lovable main character. Expect that your plot will be exciting and your characters will come to life. Focus on the parts of your story that are working really well. Focus on the sentences or scenes that you are most proud of. Focusing on the good will help you find more to like about your writing.
Now there will be days when writing is harder than others. There will be days when it’s impossible to expect much. And that is okay. It is normal to have days when it is hard to write. Every writer experiences those days. Focusing on what could go right is more about believing in yourself than expecting yourself to feel a certain way about your writing, or expecting yourself to be a certain kind of writer.
Whenever you need to, let yourself feel and expect whatever you want. But if you focus on what could go right as much as possible, you will be more motivated because you will see more instances where your story is working. Finding the good in your story will motivate you to keep writing.