Are you a confident writer? Many writers aren’t. This means that they miss out on opportunities that they could and should snatch with both hands. They invite failure.
This was brought home to me last week, when I was chatting to an editor at a publishing house. We were discussing their lists for this year, and I was pitching a couple of ghostwriting projects. She was in a bitter mood, because two of the writers who’d signed contracts had failed to deliver. Now she had to scramble to find writers to write those two books within the next six weeks.
Non-delivering writers are real hassle for businesses and for publishers. They sign their contracts with glee, but then they freeze. Their confidence vanishes.
That got me thinking about the writers who always deliver. When these writers sign a contract, you know not only that they’ll deliver, but also that they’ll deliver before the deadline, and that they’ll have a bagful of fresh ideas for projects as well.
Confident writers always deliver
Rhonda, a friend who’s been writing successfully for a decade and a half, is one of the most confident writers I know. She’s a ghostwriter too, and we often discuss our projects. I asked her what makes a confident writer.
She thought about it. “Confident writers know that success doesn’t last, and neither does failure — besides, they’re so busy that if a project falls through, it barely registers. They’re already on to the next thing. One thing they all do — a confident writer always delivers.”
The trick: confident writers are always busy, they overbook themselves, and they deliver
I decided that she was right. Confident writers keep busy. They’re always hungry for good projects, and they tend to overbook themselves. Rhonda told me that she has projects lined up for the next 18 months. “That doesn’t mean that I’ll let a great project go — I’ll just work weekends,” she said happily.
Five confidence-building tips you can use today
So how do you become a confident writer? Let’s look at some tips to build your confidence.
- Be hungry: take on more projects, and schedule them carefully;
- Complete every project you start;
- Take nothing for granted. As Rhonda pointed out, neither failure nor success last. A wonderful coup like a publishing contract doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Projects are cancelled or postponed all the time. If you’ve got ten upcoming projects, some will fall through, for whatever reason. Get more projects;
- Realize that it’s not all about you. Writers with confidence focus on projects and clients, not on what they fear are their imperfections. They look for projects which will take them out of their comfort zone;
- Be enthusiastic. Clients love enthusiasm. Confident writers realize that clients have anxieties too. Enthusiasm breeds confidence, and that helps everyone.
So in summary, if you feel that you lack confidence, take on more projects. Get busy, and keep busy. Before you know it, you will be confident — but you’ll only realize that in retrospect, after your writing life changes for the better.
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