Confidence is that magic, elusive quality that seems to make the world go round. People who do well, so it is said, simply have more confidence. In fact, if popular wisdom is to believed, there isn’t a problem you can have that couldn’t be solved by more confidence. This advice is particularly frustrating since it is hard for those without confidence to understand exactly how to obtain it, and even then it seems fleeting.
Confidence is particularly important to a writer. Not least because, should you plan on pursuing it as a career, you will be expected to thrust your work out for the approval of the public. I hit the publish button on two of my short stories last year and both times my heart was racing. Writing can be cathartic, personal and therapeutic. The idea of taking the scribblings plucked from your own brain and asking people to fork over their hard earned cash to enjoy them can be a nerve racking experience. It is, however, a fear that can only be overcome by throwing your beloved stories to the lions again and again. More importantly, the writer must be confident when engaged in the writing process. Partly, because it is when we are feeling confident that we are at our most bold, our most audacious and our most creative, but also because it is when we are nervous that we make mistakes.
Looking over my work for 2012 I feel I have improved a lot since I published that first, hastily written, little story. My writing feels tighter, more concise and more deliberate. The story I am working on currently feels, to my own biased eyes, to be much more focused. No word seems to have fallen on to the page by accident. I am very proud of it, and I attribute any improvement to a great increase in confidence since I began.
Like an skill, confidence comes with practice. The more you write, the more experience you have, the better the results will be. Confidence should follow shortly.
If it doesn’t, fake it. It works almost as well.