Creative Writing Tips: Boosting Confidence

How to Boost Writing Confidence

In September 2020 I got a free copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People from Amazon. What’s that got to do with writing? More than you’d think!

Chapter One is rather cleverly titled ‘If you want to gather honey, don’t kick the beehive.’

Row of Beehives in a Field of Purple Flowers
Row of Beehives in a Field of Purple Flowers

The main point?

People are emotional. If you criticise someone all the time they’re more likely to resent you, feel hurt, rebel against the advice, or give up than improve or listen to what you’re saying. Being positive is much more effective, as it encourages rather than demoralises.

How does this link to writing?

If criticising others hurts, the same applies to yourself: So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your writing goals. I felt terrible asking for an extension to my MA Final Project when others on my course were struggling and still finished on time, but criticising myself ruined my productivity: My motivation went out the window, it took me even longer to finish my project, and I nearly quit.

So how do you motivate yourself?

Mug with text: 'Today is going to be a good day.'
Mug with text: ‘Today is going to be a good day.’

Focus on the positives. If your goal is to write every day, reward yourself on days you succeed and let the days you don’t write go. It’ll build a healthy habit much faster than beating yourself up for missing a day!

If you don’t meet a deadline, have empathy for yourself. You might’ve experienced setbacks you didn’t anticipate, like a project requiring more work than expected or a worldwide pandemic. Criticising yourself only puts you on the defensive and creates resentment towards the task you’re trying to complete.

Treat yourself kindly and you’ll be more confident. You might be struggling because the world’s been a dumpster fire for a year. I know I am, and that’s okay. It’s fine to take breaks if things are tough. No one else will blame you, so don’t judge yourself πŸ™‚

When you have nothing left to give, Take a break.
When you have nothing left to give, take a break.

If you struggle to let go of criticism, self directed or otherwise, write it down. Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter criticising a General who disobeyed his order to attack. He never sent it, as he knew from experience criticising people ends badly: Someone he criticised once challenged him to a sword fight! Getting his feelings out on paper changed his perspective though, and sometimes that’s all you need.

Principle One of How to Win Friends and Influence People? Don’t criticise, condemn, or complain. Apply it, and you’ll boost your writing confidence and be a happier person πŸ™‚

scales divider copy

Thanks for Reading!

If you struggle with negative thinking my post on Writing Demons might help overcome it.

Do you beat yourself up so much it stops you writing, or are you kind to yourself when things go wrong? Share in the comments πŸ™‚

Past Writerly Advice Posts:

Lessons in Storytelling from TV and Film
MA Creative Writing

25 comments

  1. Nice post.:-) I do give myself pats on the back and small rewards for hitting milestones. On the other hand, I get frustrated with myself when I think I’m not improving fast enough or writing worthwhile stories. Whoa, I did not know that about Lincoln and the sword fight challenge! Haha, I certainly wouldn’t challenge a man with such long arms and a long reach!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Louise! I read How to Win Friends and Influence People many years ago. Probably like 12 years ago lol. I remember that it is a good book. And, what you wrote is so true. If we treat ourselves kindly, life will be less stressful and we will increase our confidence. I learned that the hard way. When I’m super hard on myself, it is easy to ruminate and worry. But, when I choose to be kind to myself and focus on my work, I get much more done and feel better. Your post is a wonderful reminder of what we need to do. I need to do it more often. Great insights, awesome post :). Take care :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still need to finish the book actually, I got distracted by essays! Yup, life has been less stressful since I let the odd lapse of routine slide: Last week I missed a writing day because I had a stressful week and needed to chill and play video games all day. The old me would’ve beat myself up over that, but the new me took the day off and I feel far better for it πŸ™‚

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      • No worries. Do you plan on reading more soon? Aww I hope your week this week is less stressful. I’m glad you decided to chill and have fun! πŸ™‚ And I’m glad you feel far better too! I need to do this more often. I find it easy to be hard on myself. But your post has inspired me to keep working on it. :). Thank you. :).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Probably not right now, as there are fiction books I want to read more (Cinderellis is out in a few days) and I have to be in the right mood for non fiction.

          You’re welcome πŸ™‚ I’m probably decreasing my writing days from 4 to 3 for now until I adjust to my new routine as 4 isn’t working out!

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              • Awesome! She’s a friend of mine on Twitter. How did you like Beauregard and the Beast? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, based on what you remember, are there any content or trigger warnings for the book?

                πŸ™‚ Yeah, thinking can take up a lot of time for our WIPs. I am sure you’ll continue doing great :).

                Liked by 1 person

                • I discovered Evie on Twitter too πŸ™‚ I meant to review Beauregard actually, I’m so scatter-brained! As far as I remember the only potential content warning is the sex. I didn’t find it that explicit, but I guess it depends on what you’re comfortable with. I’ve spent so much time down the fanfiction rabbit hole, I’ve seen it all and I’m pretty desensitised at this point xD

                  The majority of my ‘writing’ time at the moment is spent sorting through a large word document of notes. It’s 24 pages now, down from 50, so I’m getting there πŸ˜€

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That’s cool! Evie’s a kind friend and I love her WriteLGBTQ prompts!
                    Thank you for the info about Beauregard. There are some things I’m desensitized on from reading, watching movies, etc, but others that I’m not so desensitized on lol.

                    Oh wow. Do you outline your stories too? Nice job on cutting down on your notes pages! You’re going to write a marvelous story. You rock, Louise! πŸ˜€

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah Evie’s cool πŸ˜€ You’re welcome, I think there are some things it’s nice to know regarding book content, so we can make informed decisions on if that book is for us πŸ™‚

                      I never used to plan anything, but I also never finished anything that way! (Anything novel length anyway). I’m trying intense plotting this time around, and I’ve edited my outline four times. Fingers crossed it works out πŸ™‚

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Before publishing my first book, I wasn’t kind and I wasn’t patient with myself. But after that, I knew that I only need to apply myself and be persistent and no matter how long it takes, eventually I’ll get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s simple advice but I certainly can’t fault it – as the old saying goes, you are your own harshest critique, and it’s impossible to escape your thoughts. It’s especially difficult when it comes to blaming yourself for things wildly out of your control. I do my best to write each day, but sometimes, when either the time or motivation is lacking, it becomes impossible, and only becomes more of an issue when I’m negative about it

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, sometimes the same thought cycles around in my head over and over, and escaping that cycle can be tricky. I tried writing daily for a while, Stephen King I think says it’s necessary, but it wasn’t right for me. I’ve come to realise there’s nothing wrong with ignoring the advice of popular writers though, it’s better to find what works for you and stick to it πŸ™‚

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