Day three and time for C! Today’s guest is Amy Bartelloni and she’s talking about having confidence in your writing. Here’s Amy!
You wouldn’t think it’s all that important in this business, but I was recently telling my 12 year old daughter (who probably doesn’t listen anyway,) that confidence is everything. She rides horses, I write. Apples to oranges, right? Not really.
Let me explain.
I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking. Ever read the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho? Well that’s a literal way of pushing you to go after your dreams, to believe in your dreams. Because how can you go after them if you don’t believe in them? And how can anyone else believe in them if you don’t? It took a big leap of faith for me to even start writing my stories down, and that was before I told anyone or shared them! I have a lifelong self-confidence problem, something I think a lot of us creative type people suffer from. But you have to start somewhere, and I started by writing for myself. Then a funny thing happened.
I lost myself in my stories. Sometimes, a lot of times, really, I have to go back and channel those days when I was writing for myself. Because it’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work: the publicizing, the emails, the reviews, all the million other distractions, and forget that I do this because I love it. I love the stories. And it all started by taking that leap and having the confidence to write things down, even if they were only for me to see. And for a long time, they only were for me to see. I learned so much in those days, not just about writing but about believing in myself and believing in the story. I learned to stop worrying so much about what the other moms at PTO would think, because I have a story inside of me that’s clawing its way out. I have a story inside of me – how cool is that? I wrote it down just for me, and that was the first time I realized that I can do it. It’s only one step, though, and I had a long way to go.
Sharing my stories with the world is a whole different level. Or is it? Confidence inside and confidence outside are two sides of the same coin. Imagine my surprise at that little revelation. Because I was rejected. Rejected with a capital R. Rejected so many times that there’s not a file big enough to keep count. So many people give up at this point, but I have a natural born stubborn streak and I wasn’t going to let go. I lost faith, but I never lost what was important. I kept on writing. Even if there were days I didn’t believe in myself, I believed in those words. Slowly, very, very slowly, that started to show through. The rejections still hurt, don’t get me wrong, but I knew there was potential there. And I kept trying.
I don’t hear people talk about those down times, the times when you’re furiously writing and querying and you think you’re getting nowhere. I hated them. I hated questioning myself all the time. I hated thinking I was wasting my time. But when I look back, I couldn’t be where I am without them. The rejections and the practice built me up in ways I didn’t know I needed building. I became better. I learned the craft of writing, and I made friends in the reading and writing industry that have become some of my closest friends. I’m not saying this wouldn’t have happened if I had instant success, I’m saying I wasn’t ready for instant success. More than just the writing, I had to build me up.
I needed confidence.
I’m not saying I’ve gone out in the world and had huge success as a result of this, but I notice the difference. I’m not embarrassed anymore to tell people I write, I’m not scared to read my work in front of people. And the best part is – if people don’t like me or what I have to offer, I move along. I’ve discovered that there are plenty of other people who do like my writing, and the world is too short to harp on the negative.
So, my advice is to pay your dues. The more you read and write, the better you get at it. Do it because you love it, and remember that you love it. The more you believe in yourself, the more it will show to other people. And have confidence! You have something of value to offer the world. 🙂
Amy Bartelloni the author of the 3 book YA dystopian Andromeda series. She’s also a reader, writer, & coffee addict who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she’s not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King. She can be found on the web at www.amybartelloni.com
Find Amy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amycipwrites
Cindy here again.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. I agree with Amy on the importance of confidence.
April 3, 2015 at 10:06 am
This post really resonated with me. You’re absolutely right: if you want to write, you gotta keep at it, even when the words suck, even when you think no one believes in you, even when YOU don’t believe in you. I think “mastering” confidence is a lifelong process. Kinda like writing. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this, Amy!
April 3, 2015 at 10:39 am
Hi Amy, Excellent post! The writing journey is definitely not a linear one. As we learn to navigate those bumps, potholes and detours, we develop the confidence to continue writing. Joanne 🙂
April 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm
Oh man! I’ll be sixty two in May and I’ve been writing—mostly unsuccessfully if publication equals success—for most of my life. I did have a ten year period where I had some success with small publications but I never really broke through, and basically I gave up in terms of seeking outside recognition. I keep writing because I have to; I have to let my stories out even if no one reads them – seriously I’m lucky if 30 people a day read my writing blog! — but if you’re a writer, ya gotta write. And so I do.