In the chessboard of life, confidence is queen. And like the queen, confidence gives you unrivaled power and versatility. Confidence gives you the strength to face various challenges with aggressive courage, seize opportunities as they come your way, and develop strategies that give you a decided advantage.
At her best, the confident queen controls the board. And, instead of being limited to a role as the king’s protector, the queen's number one goal is to put the opponent's king in check.
But what exactly are the parallels between the formidable nature of the queen in chess and the importance of self-confidence for a successful author?
There are several.
Just as the queen's power on the chessboard comes from her versatility in movement, an author's self-confidence stems from a sincere self-belief in their writing abilities. A confident author trusts their work will entertain, enlighten, or educate their readers. A queen knows what she can do on the board, and a self-assured author knows what they can do with words.
Another parallel is the queen's ability to navigate challenging situations that may decide the game's fate. A self-confident author will also face challenges in their writing journey, including writer's block, rejection, and criticism. An author’s ability to navigate these challenges will keep them in the game.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a queen is never shy. She aggressively creates opportunities for her own gain. The same is true of a self-confident author. They will seek opportunities to create an advantage, whether networking with other authors, participating in writing competitions, or getting the best literary agent to represent them.
Self-confidence is the secret to getting from where you are to where you want to be in your writing career.
Let’s talk about how to develop this most-important attitude.
Establish a Regular Writing Routine
Every writer should develop a consistent writing routine. All routines are vital to us, like brushing our teeth, taking out the trash, etc. Writing can and should be one of those daily routines because then you will prioritize it as part of your work. When you prioritize writing, you’ll do it more, which will, in turn, improve your skills and your self-confidence.
To set up a writing routine, start small. Set aside a specific time each day for writing. Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget. And remember that in these daily writing sessions, you don’t have to churn out Pulitzer-winning content. You have to get into the habit of showing up daily to create.
Create a Dedicated Writing Space
We all have a preferred place to write, whether a dedicated office, a corner of our bedroom, or the kitchen table. Wherever you’re writing from, take the time to make it more hospitable to your creative genius.
Add inspirational images or quotes on the wall. Tidy up. Add mood lighting. Add an essential oil diffuser. Personalizing your writing space will foster greater focus and higher levels of creativity. It’s a small step, but it leads to great results. Feeling at ease in your environment will reduce the stresses that lead to writer’s block. Ultimately, you’ll feel more confident while writing in a place that brings you joy.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Be realistic with yourself. You won’t write a masterpiece every day, every year, or even every ten years. And you may not be as prolific some days as you are others. Instead of trying to live up to some unobtainable set of expectations, create a basic level of goals you want to reach every day. Keep it focused on the short term so you don’t overwhelm yourself. For example, set a goal to write 500 words each day. By making it something you can achieve during your writing session, you set yourself up for success and a sense of accomplishment. This sense will boost your confidence. Realistic expectations also help avoid disappointment because you're intentionally not setting yourself up for failure.
Embrace Your Unique Writing Voice and Perspective
Developing your unique voice isn’t something that comes all at once. You must hone it for years and maybe even a lifetime. But the good news is that your voice already exists. You simply have to tune down the noise of other agents to find your unique style and perspective. This style comes through experimenting with different writing styles and genres. You should also reflect on your life experiences and incorporate them into your writing. Instead of trying to sound like [insert famous author name here], which ultimately contributes to a lack of confidence, the more you own and utilize your unique writing voice, the more self-confident and the more authentically you’ll connect with your reader.
Attend Writing Workshops, Classes, or Webinars
No writer is an island. If you want to develop your skills, you have to learn from others. You can gain new skills to enhance your writing abilities by actively participating in learning opportunities. And as your skills grow, so will your confidence and readiness to tackle more complex writing projects.
Attending writing conferences and workshops is a great way to develop your writing skills. These events also provide a platform to network with other writers who can support your writing journey.
View Setbacks and Failures as Opportunities
As writers, we can’t always be winners. You might write a book everyone loves and then write a follow-up that everyone hates. Don’t take things personally. It’s just part of the game. What they say about you is less important than what you say about yourself.
Instead of looking at failure as the end, reframe it as the beginning of a valuable learning experience that can propel you toward more remarkable growth and success in the future. By making this mental shift, you can maintain a positive outlook and prevent negative experiences from damaging your confidence. This approach helps build resilience, an essential skill for every author.
The easiest way to do this is by reflecting on the lessons that are immediately apparent to you. You’re a writer, so why not create a journal to record your thoughts? Sometimes, writing without editing yourself can be a great form of therapy and introspection. You can refer to these journal entries later to gain greater insight into what you may have learned from your setbacks. Also, consider contacting other authors, especially those more experienced than you, and ask them if they have any advice. Chances are high that they’ve already been there and learned a thing or two.
Cultivate Persistence and Resilience
Most authors, especially the new and unpublished ones, lack confidence. But confidence will come when you believe nothing can stop you; not bad reviews, not lack of support from family and friends, not even our tendencies to self-sabotage.
Are you in this for the long haul? Great. So am I.
Being a writer is a lifelong sentence for most of us, so it’s crucial to develop a dual attitude of persistence and resilience. Understand that no matter what happens, you’ll get back up and try again. And you won’t stop until you reach your goals. Committing to long-term goals and overcoming setbacks demonstrates your ability to persevere.
Doing this builds your confidence in the process. Take time to celebrate minor and significant victories along the way. Every win will reinforce your belief in your capabilities as a writer. You have to be your own hype man. You’ve got to tell yourself that, no matter what, you’ll make it. And that’s how you forge self-confidence.
Embracing self-confidence empowers authors to trust their abilities, tackle challenges, and seize opportunities with determination and courage, much like the queen's strategic moves on the chessboard. By nurturing and developing self-confidence, you pave the way to a fulfilling and successful writing career, advancing fearlessly toward your goals, one move at a time.