A Creative Writing Crisis of Confidence


Almost every creative writer has a moment where they wonder if they should just give up.

For the record, if you happen to be in the minority on this one, just wait. Your day will likely come.

That’s not me wishing anything negative on you or for you. It’s simply a matter of you being (presumably) human.

Humans make mistakes, which means your moment might come after you had someone – whether a beta reader or an editor or a regular reader – point out an error on your part. Since that rarely feels fun, you might be tempted to quit.

To hang up your pens for good. No more narrative guns a'blazin for this writer.

Similarly, humans have down days, which means your moment could also come after someone – whether a parent or a colleague or a random stranger at the grocery story – made you feel silly, or stupid or worthless. And since that isn’t any more enjoyable than our first possibility, you might be tempted to quit too.

In either case, I have four inspirational words for you: Suck it up, cupcake.

As I said before, you’re hardly alone if you have a creative writing crisis of confidence.

In fact, if you look up “creative writing crisis of confidence” – without the quotes – you’ll come across plenty of relevant hits on the first two pages. No need to go digging around.

Take this title from Aliventures.com: “How to Recover Your Writing Confidence (Even if You Think You Never Had Any).”

Personally, I like that title. It’s a good one.

Writer’s Relief, meanwhile, has this post: “Creative Writers: Building Confidence In Your Craft.”

WriteShop has a commentary from 2009 on, “Stumbling Block #1 – Lack of Confidence.”

And For Writers weighs in with the oh-so-catchy, “10 Reasons Why Your Writing Sucks and What You Can Do to Make It Not.”

Editor’s Note: Any and all article references above should not be seen as endorsements. I didn’t get the chance to read them all over, so I can only comment about the titles…

Which highlight how very common having a creative writing crisis of confidence really is.

As I implied before, and as For Writers addressed much more directly… sometimes, yes, your creative writing needs work.

But that’s not a reason to have a crisis of confidence. It’s a reason to indulge in a pepperoni and onion pizza, with a tub of ice cream for dessert. But only for an evening.

If you really want to create stories, then you don’t have time for additional sulks. You need to invest in improving your craft. Always and forever. That should never stop.

So tell yourself that, yes, you can do this. Then do it.

Here’s how…

  1. Ask people to look at your work and give feedback. Then consider it.

  2. Study other people’s creative writing. Then try to mirror their style. (Just for practice. Not for publication.)

  3. Get tuned in with reality instead of your perception of reality. Then make your fiction reflect it.

You can also sign up for The Genuine Writer e-letter, which offers helpful tips and insights every Tuesday. It’s free and fun and intended to help you become the creative writer you want to be.

That’s what to do if you realize that your writing isn’t as strong as it should be. As for those random bad days we humans can too easily experience for other reasons? My recommendation remains the same...

Drown your woes in yummy food for the night. Then suck it up and deal with it in the morning.

Your creative writing will be better off when you do.

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