O-okay um well as you can probably tell, I'm not a very confident person, but I really want to be a writer and I've written several short stories and poems but every time I try to show it to someone whose opinion I value (my dad, brother, mom, aunt, etc) they either shoot it down or not even read it. I know it shouldn't bother me, but unfortunately I'm really sensitive :/ basically I'm asking how I can become more confident as a writer?

Asked by
stay-au-ponyboy

Hello there, understandably-shy writerly friend~ ♥︎

I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. Writing is hard, and even more so if you live in an environment that may hinder your craft :c

Thankfully for you, this is something that I’ve touched on in the past. Here are a few helpful links:

If you’re going to read ONE of the links, read the last one. It is seriously my best reply (to date) about gaining confidence. Seriously, I could go on and on repeating everything I said— but this is not the place for that.

Because there’s something else I want to talk about.

You need to develop a thick skin if you want to be a writer, because (just like you have no control over how people will react to your work) you don’t have any control over what people will say or do. There are nasty people out there in the world, and eventually someone will look at your art and tell you things like…

  • It sucks (or YOU suck)
  • It’s bad (or YOU are a bad writer)

And so on. You have no control over this. Great writers, and awful writers alike, have all had to deal with this. What I want you to understand is that you’re not alone in this struggle— this is something that all writers have to deal with. The successful ones (and the ones we remember) are those who can overcome this.

Let me explain…

Do you like RPGs? I love RPGs. I grew up playing them— and sometimes I find my logic to be broken down into RPG terminology. So, let me explain to you why I think a thick skin is important.

If life was a video-game (particularly an RPG) and your ‘class’ was that of a writer, the way in which you succeed in life is by improving your ability to write (your writing skill). Everyone focuses on this, on their craft. It makes sense. It’s like upgrading your attack attribute. People forget about defense, though. Your ‘thick skin’ (or the ‘confidence' skill if we continue with the analogy). I have seen tons of people who are great at their craft, but as soon as they get their first 1-star review (and trust me, it's coming, It's going to happen sometime) they give up. They literally have to step away from what makes them happy because they can’t handle it. They are practically Glass Canons, they write good stuff (really good stuff) but they have no defense whatsoever.

I am the #1 person to tell you to write all the time, because I truly believe that the only way you will get better is by writing. But, even so, I have to admit that while buffing up your attack stat may seem like the cool thing to do… you need to buff up your defense too. It’s a killing field out there, and if you want to survive you are going to need a thick skin.

Now, how can you go about doing that? Read my article on confidence. You need to understand that your work is not an extension of your persona. And…

Learn to break down the information that is given to you. When people say things like "This book sucks" what they are really saying is "I didn’t like this book, but I don’t want to be held responsible for my opinion so I will claim that my words are objective and ultimate."

Seriously. Learn to break down what people say. I keep saying this about characters, but it also applies to real life: what people say is a DIRECT reflection of how they view the world, and a reflection of their own most intimate persona.

I can tell you, with confidence, that most of the time people are not effectively trying to be mean you (or your writing). Everyone is wrapped up in their own lives, and (sadly) most people don’t know how to step out of their problems and instead go about mistreating other people as a way to combat the problems they’re not actively working on.

What I am getting to is that… the world is full of people with problems. Some of those people are nasty. Most of the nasty people would rather say mean things than dealing with their problems (because it’s easier to not fix problems than fixing them). You, though, have NO control over this. So, the best thing to do is to work on your defense stat. Gain a thicker skin. As you level up in life the struggles only get harder. If you want to be successful (at ANYTHING in life) you need to be able to take punches.

I hope this helps! Be strong, writerly friend. I know you can overcome this~ ♥︎

Notes

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    I can’t express how much I love this RPG-writing breakdown.
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