freakouts / novels / revising / voices in my head / writing

Arrogance vs. Insecurity vs. How About a Smidge of Confidence?

I once wrote here about how I could use a confidence hat to put on while writing, and I’m afraid to find myself longing for such an easy fix again.

The thing is, humility is good. Arrogant writers are not people I enjoy; I never want to be one, no matter how sure of myself I might become. But the other thing is, there’s a way to be confident in your abilities and know you can do something and yet not think you’re the be-all end-all. Being confident doesn’t have to mean sitting around expecting everyone to tell you how awesome you are.

There is also a point where insecurity becomes not just annoying to the people who know you, it can turn into a real hindrance. It does not help you write your novel!

Therefore, I would like to not be insecure for the next six weeks.

A funny thing happened: I was at my laptop, working on a scene, and I had this little mallet of doubt knocking me on the skull every few seconds or so. I worried that I couldn’t do it, and I worried that this would go wrong and that would go wrong and all of it would fall apart, and make it stop, and yet the mallet kept clonking me on the skull and then…

A very important someone sent me an email at just the right moment, saying just the right thing, and—ta-da!—the mallet was gone and I felt loads better.

That was all it took.

I can’t be reliant on incoming emails for my self-worth though. (And I need to stop annoying my other half.) So no more insecure thoughts till August, okay?

Where do you find your confidence? It’s not from a hat, is it? Do tell.

6 thoughts on “Arrogance vs. Insecurity vs. How About a Smidge of Confidence?

  1. I’ve struggled with this recently.
    Thoughts like, “I’ll never write a book again…” Snuck in to my head.
    Ultimately, I fall back on the knowledge that, while writing, I’ll have moments where nothing works.
    Remembering that I can (and should) go back and fix those helps me not focus on those bits.
    But there’s also the epiphinal moments when something new pops into my mind/my story, completely changing the story.
    As much as I don’t want to believe it, maybe insecurity is just a part of the writing process.
    Well, at least for some of us…

    • Maybe you’re right—maybe being insecure and questioning yourself is a good thing, because then you work to make it better next time! You, as in me. I’m definitely here trying to work on it and make it better.

  2. I figure the more insecure you feel, the more the dark forces of the universe are trying to keep you from finishing the work you were put here to do.

    Sooo, you must be doing something right or you wouldn’t be so besieged by self-doubt.

  3. My adviser keeps detailed notebooks throughout her entire novel writing process. She says when she feels insecure, convinced she’ll never write again or never make a scene work or never figure out her climax, she goes back to her notebooks and re-reads her previous journals. There she sees all of the same worries, often at the same parts of the process. It’s incredibly reassuring to realize you’ve dealt with these exact same problems before, and won.

    • This is brilliant. I wish I’d done this with the last book, but maybe if I start now, with this one, I’ll have these confessions to look back on later.

      Then again, there is also always this blog.😉

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