Hello, Go Teen Writers! We're doing Q & A panels this summer. We answer a question, then pass it on to you. Please share your answer in the comments so we can all learn from each other.
Today we have a question that is sometimes hard to answer honestly aloud, but I think you'll see from the answers is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We all struggle in the area of self-confidence.
Do you believe in your writing?
This goes back to that question about being a confident or an anxious writer. It’s all about how we view ourselves. It's about our identity and how we define that identity. Where we find our worth. I have some deep wounds from my childhood that formed lies that have made me insecure about a lot of things. Oddly enough, I’m also extremely hardworking and stubborn. So while I might doubt myself on a daily (hourly?) basis, I continually dive headfirst into the fire anyway. That’s who I am. I need to be creating. It gives me joy. I think it goes back to my tendency to daydream. For me, my fantasy is safe. Nothing can hurt me there. This makes it sometimes difficult to live in the real world, since the real world doesn’t work like a fantasy world. People don't behave the way I want them to in the real world. Still, while I believe in myself, and I believe I “can” do anything I set my mind to, I know that my identity is not defined by this. So, yes, I believe that I am a good writer. I have worked hard to learn how. That is truth. And whether or not I sell millions of copies has no bearing on that truth. Whether or not I ever sold a novel would have had no bearing on that. My writing is good because I have put in the time to practice and learn. That is a fact. And I cannot judge my skill by other people's opinions of what I create. I can only judge each book by whether or not I have done my best.
Yes! All the time. Except when I don’t. We all go through ups and downs emotionally, professionally. But I’ve never put out anything I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make an adjustment if given the opportunity after the fact, or rewrite portions of former stories, but I believe that writing is a journey and I don’t want to begrudge the stops along the way.
Some of it, yes. Sometimes people say, “I’m reading this book of yours!” and my brain instantly goes to all the things I know are wrong with that book. And nothing brings out my insecurities like sending a few chapters to my agent or editor.
For the most part, though, I believe in what I have written. I think it helps that I don’t ask my writing to do a whole lot. By which I mean, I don’t ask my novels to change lives or inspire girls or make a difference. Of course I love it when I hear that they have, but I don’t put that expectation on my novels. I just want to tell a good story.