Monday, August 1, 2011

A Critical Trait For The Writer

Cars need regular maintenance and some fixing-up, and I guess people do, too. My absence last week was due to a repair job I needed at our local hospital. I'm happy to say that surgery went well, and I'm feeling better each day. Energy level seems to be the biggest problem. I have stories swirling in my head but not yet able to sit down and write a full story. Soon, though...

Meanwhile, a friend wrote to me about a mutual writer friend who is a terrific storyteller. But she has one major flaw. She lacks confidence in herself. She thinks she was accepted into a prestigious writing group because of factors other than her writing. I found that to be quite sad, as she is an excellent writer.

Is she the only one who doesn't know it? Maybe so. I do know she does not submit her work for publication. She should, as a good deal of it would sell. She lacks one critical trait a writer must have--confidence.

How easy to say that a writer needs confidence. Wouldn't it be nice if she could run to Wally World and pick up a case of the stuff? If only! It's one thing to know you need to believe in yourself, but sometimes doing it is quite another breed of cat altogether. Believing in yourself as a writer is of prime importance.

If she asked me what to do to gain some confidence in her ability to write (and I seriously doubt she would do that!), I'd tell her to step out of her own shoes for a short while. Read some of her own work with objective eyes. Ask herself what she'd say if this story had been written by someone else. It's not easy to do, and she might not be successful at the first attempt. Like all things, it takes practice.

Next, I'd tell her to submit, submit, submit. If she gets two acceptances out of twelve, that's two doses of confidence. And yes, for someone whose confidence level is low, it takes courage to submit work.

Third, if she's in a critique group, she should pay attention to the praise part of the critiques she receives. Crits help us see parts of a story that need work, but they should also point out the areas that shine, the ones that stand out as fine writing.

Maybe the writer needs to be a little bit of an egotist. We need to build ourselves up so that we don't fall down.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice. Us under confident folks need to pay attention. I need a nudge every now and then, and you're pretty good at nudging. Thanks!