Our writers’ group has four longterm members; others come and go. A few weeks ago, a member left. He’d given up on his novel. He’d lost confidence. That happens often. Novelists give up. So in the following meeting, we talked about what makes a confident novelist, because confidence is vital for novelists.
What makes a confident novelist?
Attributes of confident novelists, we decided, include:
- A love of books, words, and writing;
- Stubbornness — a refusal to give in to failure, and our moods. Also, a refusal to quit even if the minor and major tragedies and disasters of life get in our way;
- The feeling that writing is important, with success, or without it. As a member said, “I’m happier writing than not writing, so I might as well write.”
We also discussed a clever mind hack we’ve adopted, for the simple reason that it works.
The mind hack: “what I wrote is wonderful… because I WROTE it”
This mind hack is deceptively simple.
Whenever your confidence fades, and you doubt yourself, say these words to yourself: “what I wrote is wonderful, because I wrote it.”
It helps if you write the words too.
Sounds simplistic, and rather silly, right?
It’s not simplistic, or silly, because those simple words have these two powerful elements:
- Words have power — what you say to yourself matters.
- You’re acknowledging your own creativity, and achievement, which leads to more achievement.
Let’s talk about the two elements.
1. Words have power: they build (or destroy) your life
Suggestion is everywhere in the form of advertising,
Advertising isn’t the only form of suggestion which affects us of course. We’re also influenced by other people. Some people are real energy vampires. You get off the phone after a call with them, and feel drained.
You might think you’re immune to suggestion in all its many forms, but you’re not. No one is.
Try this. Smile, and silently say to yourself, happy.
Let your face relax, and then say to yourself, miserable.
There’s an immediate difference in how you feel, right?
Words, whether they’re your own words, or the words of others, affect you.
When you say to yourself: “what I wrote is wonderful” the words affect you, whether the words are objectively true, or not.
How much confidence do you feel when you think, or say aloud: “what I wrote is wonderful”? Try it.
2. Acknowledgement is vital, because then you can build on what you’ve achieved
You came home from work. You were tired. The kids yelled, your partner sulked, and the last thing you wanted to do was work on your novel. You did it anyway. You wrote 300 words.
Here’s what you did next: you forgot your achievement. You decided that you “should” have written more than those 300 words. How will you complete your novel if you write just 300 words a day?
After a minute or two of berating yourself, you’re depressed. Your confidence is zero.
What if you said to yourself instead: “I’m amazing. I wrote 300 words and what I wrote is wonderful… because I WROTE it.”
How would you feel if you said that to yourself? Would you be more likely to feel better about your novel, and yourself?
Anytime you write anything it’s wonderful. You wrote. You achieved that. It’s an accomplishment. Acknowledge that.
Yes, you may well think that you wrote is rubbish — but hey, you can fix it later. You can’t fix what you don’t write.
It’s a simple mind hack: “what I wrote is wonderful… because I WROTE it”
Try it. Say it often enough and you’ll be a confident novelist.