All writers experience moments when their inner critic whispers discouragement. You’ll never finish this book. Your writing isn’t that good. No one wants to read this. Even well-established writers have difficulty silencing their inner doubts. Learning how to subdue that inner critic helps you move past your fears and develop your writing abilities. There are several things you can focus on instead of letting your inner critic win.
Read About Writing
You can learn a lot from other writers. You’ll find online forums, books, and seminars about writing that are valuable learning tools. Great writers never stop learning. You may have a great story but aren’t sure about your style of writing. Take the time to learn from the experiences of other writers. It helps you avoid making common mistakes, building your confidence.
Practice Different Writing Styles
The old expression “practice makes perfect” isn’t far off the mark. While perfection is rare, the pursuit of perfection will naturally bring you closer with every effort. Practice writing in different styles to hone your skills. Try something light-hearted and humorous as well as a darker, more serious project. Playing around with different genres will also help you discover which style works best for you and feels most natural while giving you the chance to polish all your skills. The ability to write well in a variety of styles makes you more marketable and builds your confidence.
Resist Editing Until You’re Done Writing
Constantly editing while you write is self-defeating. Many writers lose confidence in their abilities because they never get to the end of the manuscript. Why? Because they keep rereading what they’ve already written and are endlessly revising/refining/starting over. Don’t do this. Each time you sit down to write, start from the point you left off with no looking back. Too much criticism during the creative phase of writing bogs you down and discourages you. No first draft is ever perfect, so keep writing. You’ll feel wonderful once you’ve completed the manuscript, and when you finally go back to reread it, you’ll be doing it with a fresh perspective.
Share Your Work with Other Writers
Writing is a lonely pursuit. Step out of the bubble of your own writing and join a writers’ forum or writers’ circle. You can find them through writers’ associations, libraries, and via the Internet. Although sharing your writing with others can be frightening, it can also be affirming. Yes, you’ll get some criticism, but this is part of the learning process. You’ll also get feedback about what you’ve done well and what others like about your writing. Build on that positive reinforcement.
Break Down Your Goals
Your end goal may be to be the next great American novelist. The problem with big, overarching goals like this is that they are difficult to obtain and take a lot of time. Break your writing goals down into short-term, achievable steps. It’s too easy to get discouraged after two years of writing without being on the bestseller list. However, suppose you have goals such as getting a short story published, writing a regionally focused book, or finishing and submitting your manuscript to several publishers. In that case, you are more likely to achieve them within those two years. Being realistic about your writing goals initially can give you the confidence to eventually tackle larger ones.
Being specific also helps when setting writing goals. “The Great American Novelist” doesn’t exist because there are too many different kinds of novels. Do you want to write uplifting fiction? Then strive to be the best in that genre. Don’t worry about the author famous for science fiction novels – that’s not your thing! The less you worry about the success of others, the more confident you’ll be in your ability to achieve your own success.
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books to achieve publishing success. Contact us to discuss our assisted self-publishing option today.
For more information, including about DCP’s latest programs, please get in touch at +1-520-329-2729 or publisher@DudleyCourtPress.com. We’ve recently launched our latest program, Memoir Writing for Non-Writers. This comprehensive, 10-week course helps you turn your memories into a compelling memoir!