November 12, 2013

To have confidence - and to show it

Dear M,

As very new writers, we tend to be apologetic about our writing. That needs a little explanation, methinks. People who start writing early in their lives may not have experienced this, but those who recognise writing as their calling in adult life, or those who start writing just because they found themselves a new website, feel a certain lack of confidence in their words. They apologise for their first blog post, for their first poem, for their first short story and for their first article.

Even when they don't, we can feel it in their writing - a fear, a sense of looking around to make sure no one is watching while they sneak out. It will pass, as we know so well, and the writer becomes confident with each passing word.

But unless we write because someone is paying us per word, we don't have to explain our writing to anyone. It's our world, to create as we wish. We don't have to make excuses for not being a writer, for this being our first effort, for feeling this new love for words.

Every reader can sense that lack of confidence. In fiction, it would stand out powerfully between the lines, and that alone can diminish the beauty of the story. Write with the belief that if I say it is so, then it is so. Our reader may know better, maybe he/she will want to correct us, but if he/she feels that we write from our heart without fear, then he/she will respect us for it. And it will not matter if we are wrong, because we have the confidence to correct ourselves.

Have faith in your words, in what emerges from your heart. We will gain confidence in ourselves only if we keep on doing what we love doing.


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