On The Chain Gang #4 – Confidence

My LINK in the Blog Chain

THE BLOG CHAIN is comprised of a group of fiction writers from Query Tracker and Rally Storm. We thought it would be fun and insightful to acquire differing ideas and opinions on a particular writing topic.

So, we work through the chain posting one-by-one with the same general focus, and then, we repeat the process with a new topic for discussion. Check out the previous post at Sandra’s blog and the next post will be published at Elana’s blog within the next couple of days. If you would like to read this topic from the beginning, please see Kate’s blog.

All Blog Chain members are listed in the sidebar to the right.

My previous Link in the Blog Chain was on the topic of Quirks.

This Round’s Topic is:

How as a writer do you find the balance between having too much or too little confidence in your work?

CONfidence…is a Con Game.

Confidence is fickle – an elusive magic that brightens and fades, something given and easily taken away. The trick is to outwit the conman and grasp on to confidence and not let it be taken from you.

But how do you evade the scheme and swindle the swindler?

A writer, by nature, I think may be considered more sensitive than most. To me, that is what allows a writer to capture emotions and surroundings in the way s/he does. It is the sensitivity to the miniscule details that the majority overlooks. This sensitivity can create an unusual balance between self-confidence and self-doubt. It is easy to be caught up in the game of confidence. A writer’s soul is easily bruised, but it can just as easily soar.

When you decide to write a book, the first words placed on the page build a confidence that glows from within. As you continue, the peaks of confidence in your work and the valleys of self-doubt wrestle, forcing you to revise your work until you have a good piece. Finishing your story provides another huge bolster in self-confidence. It’s accomplishment. It’s wonderful. And it’s bursting with pride.

The grifter has played you along. In this encouraged state, you shoot off query letters, excited and anticipatory that you will receive requests for more materials. This is when you take your first hard hit. The rejection letter comes, maybe even multiple bad news letters in one day. It is hard to receive rejection after rejection on something you have slaved over for months, maybe years.

But you are determined. You re-work your query letter, because you know it’s not your story or heaven forbid your writing. You muster up confidence and out go more letters. The onslaught of rejection slaps you again. And here is where I think it is important to take a balance check. Being overly confident is every bit as detrimental as self-doubt.

You need to strive for a happy medium. I mean this in not just your writing, but in all aspects of your life. Having a solid perspective overall will help you edit and revise, polish your manuscript, and continue trudging along the rocky path to becoming a published author.

The conman will always be around the corner waiting for the slightest chink in your armor, ready to pounce on any weakness. Call in the Bunko Squad! Give yourself weapons to slay the swindler!

B – Befriend other writers

U – Understand this is just the process and don’t take it personally

N – Never give up

K – Keep writing

O – Optimism is essential

Seek out other writers for support. Nobody will understand what you are going through like another aspiring author. Join writers’ forums online. Find a critique group or two. Acquire beta readers beyond your family members and close friends. Persevere.

Confidence is a powerful drug; use it to your advantage!

Don’t forget…the Chain started with Kate, the previous post was Sandra’s, and the next link is Elana’s. Enjoy!

Leave me a COMMENT.

Stumble It!

~ by bloggingexperiments on October 20, 2008.

10 Responses to “On The Chain Gang #4 – Confidence”

  1. Witty post! Yes, I agree a sensitive nature can be both helpful and harmful to writers. If only there was a way to turn sensitivity on and off….

  2. I love acronyms! And BUNKO is an excellent one! Great post, Abi!

  3. What is Bunko, anyway? Is it like Bingo?

  4. erm…the bunko squad were the police that dealt with con games and prohibition.

    bunko the game is played with dice and is lots of fun. I’m actually in a group that plays once a month. 🙂

  5. BUNKO! That is great.

    As always, the insight fellow writers show is priceless. I caught myself shaking my head and saying, “I don’t feel that way.” Only to remember a comment someone made about my writing, and then I had to grin and backtrack. We’ve all been there, and you’re right…it takes one to know one! 🙂 Terri

  6. I love the BUNKO. The first one is so true. I’m so glad I know you. 🙂 Great post!

  7. Ooo, I love the Bunko thing too! Excellent! And so so true. You know, I’ve really wondered whether this super sensitivity we creative types tend to have has anything to do with the reason so many writers (or artists in general) tend to be alcoholics or worse. The journey through a manuscript certainly is a roller coaster; nerve wracking at best. The highs and lows are often extreme and give you no time between to acclimate. You are soaring and then slammed down, then soaring again. What a wacky industry 🙂 Excellent post!

  8. Clever, well-done post. Woo hoo. Fun read.

    My favorte: “Confidence is a powerful drug; use it to your advantage!”

    I hope it is an addictive drug.

  9. BUNKO! That’s awesome. Almost as awesome as finding a way to include a picture of young Robert Redford and the ever-swoony Paul Newman the The Sting!

  10. Oh, Carolyn, I know…Robert and Paul, dreamy! I have to admit it was fun to find that pic and be able to use it. 🙂

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