How important is self-belief to a writer?

This was a question I posed on Twitter recently and the answer came back: crucial. For someone who has very little self-belief, this was baffling. I suggested that belief in the work was more important but no one agreed. The answer gave me pause for thought. If self-belief is crucial for a writer, how do I get some?

At the same time, I began research for a new character. I’m thinking about writing a novel which involves a business woman. I started looking around social media to find someone to base this character on and stumbled across a multi-millionaire business mentor. I started following her Instagram account and tuned into many of her videos. It seemed to me much of her advice to help business women succeed could be applied to us writers.

These are some of her top tips which I’ve adapted to make sense as a writer:

  • external accolades like publication successes and winning prizes are not important. It’s about internal creativity and mastery of craft that builds self-belief
  • success is infectious. Get yourself in a space with other writers and draw from their energy to build your own momentum
  • take pride in the development of your skills and knowledge
  • once you’ve got to where you want to be as a writer, keep wanting more.

I’ve really bought into these suggestions and have been able to switch on my self-belief. Is it really that simple? I think so, and if you need to boost your self-belief, why not give some of these tips a go?

2 Comments

  1. Very interesting Gail. Thank you for this. Mum always said, ‘Nothing succeeds like a budgie with no teeth’. That was one of her jokes, but she also said, ‘Nothing succeeds like success.’
    I recently attended a writing forum on which the topic of ‘building a platform’ cropped up. And this is where those external accolades you mention do play a part. But they are just a tool.
    Self-belief is that magic that happens if you’ll just let it.
    I have an essay published in a book called 20 Winners at the Game of Life published 11 years ago. There are twenty essays in the book. Twenty women, each at very different times in their lives, each from different backgrounds and each heading in different directions. But all with that self-belief that gives them the will to succeed. Writing the essay was my turning point in discovering that I already had that self-belief. Thanks again for the reminder.

  2. Thanks for your reflections, Sue. I’ve come to the conclusion that gaining self-belief can be as simple as switching it on!

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