How to Build Writing Confidence

So many newer writers suffer from a lack of confidence.

Confidence being “faith that their work is effective, engaging, entertaining, or ultimately good.”

Of course, this is understandable to some extent, after all newer writers lack the experience to really know how their work falls.

That said, I want to share one of my favorite quotes from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai;

“It is said that what is called “the spirit of an age” is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.”
Tsunetomo Yamamoto

I think Yamamoto’s quote is pretty profound.

While you might find it a bit depressing, especially framed through the eyes of someone living in 2023, there is a silver lining here.

I really believe that we live and grow in a super specific bubble of experience. Our music, entertainment, cultural wins and losses, environmental disasters, etc… it is the irreplicable spirit of an age and we own it. And where subsequent generations may have their own versions, with similar veins and flows of current, ultimately, we are all unique.

This special power of being anchored to a specific time and place gives your writing voice authenticity. No matter what.

Have confidence that you can tell a story bringing the unique perspective that is you.

This applies to any writing you do, but also specifically, to all those stories you hesitate to tell because someone else told it before.

  • Was the person telling it before,a kid growing up the same time you were?
  • Did they live in the same state? Same city?
  • Did they have the same family dynamic?
  • Did they get beat up every day in high-school like you?

The points are endless and the points make you, you.

For the writer’s out there working, but not gaining much traction, perhaps a lack of success shakes your confidence?

Let me ask you a question. What part of success do you hang your confidence on?

Getting published?

  • Would you be confident in your work if you picked up a publishing contract, but were known as defacto “crappy writer?”
  • What about if you picked up a publishing contract for 3 books, then your publisher walked out after the first book. Would your confidence vanish down the toilet?

Getting paid?

  • Would you be confident if you caught a big pay check for writing? What if everyone loves your work, what if you saw people laugh and cry while reading your latest WIP, but you just can’t amount to financial success? Would all your confidence vanish?

Getting praise?

  • What if folks tell you, your work is fantastic, but they know nothing about writing?
  • What if the critics love your work, but friends and colleagues hate your work?

Hanging your confidence as a writer on any of the things you can’t control, is a fool’s errand.

Instead, find your confidence in the work itself.

Put out maximum effort. Don’t take shortcuts. Writing is one of the most personal professions there is. If you do the work, from a place of honesty and passion. No one can take that from you, regardless of how the work is received or what you get from it.

In the end, what you create is part of “the spirit of our age.” A permanent fixture of your bubble, adding reflections of color to an entire generation.

About the Author —
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Newcomer or veteran writer, if you’re working on a project that needs commercial success, Nick urges to you read this intro article.

Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, Amazon, and in select stores around the U.S.