Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Auditions and Confidence

We've all seen it (or heard about it) the bad auditions for American Idol:


And then Simon inevitably asks "Who told you could sing?" The answers are usually the same: "my parents" or "my friends" or "my family." And then you wonder how on earth someone could tell them they could really sing?!? Were they just trying to be nice? Are they tone deaf?

When I'm having a hard writing day, when my confidence is shot, I find myself thinking "who told me I could even write?" And, ironically, my answers are the same: "my parents, my friends, and my family."

Uh-oh. Because I always think of those bad auditions and wonder.....

It's a daily struggle for writers to keep their confidence up. We pour our hearts onto paper only have them torn apart by critiquers (yeah, I know, it's called editing, but sometimes it feels more like blood letting!). Is it really worth it? Do we really have writing skills? Or did we fall victim to the compliments by someone who just really didn't want to hurt our feelings? And with each question our confidence sinks a bit lower.

We then may look at the other writers around us and imagine they never struggle with confidence issues. So why is it just us? Well, that's the good news. It's not just us. Everyone who shares the work they've created risks having their work (and themselves) criticized. It's part of the profession. It is part of the process that helps us to grow and develop our talent (necessary evil though it is!).

So when it feels like our mom/spouse/best friend may be the only one who actually thinks we write well, then take that support and keep slogging forward. You'll get there. The only true failure is when you quit. Writing-- actually putting pen on paper or fingers on keyboard-- is a success. Celebrate those little successes and you'll find your confidence level start to perk up.

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