Hey, Friends! Happy Friday!
This week we've talked about the importance of knowing our audience as writers, whether it's the general reader or someone in the biz. But there's another thing we need to know, something else the presenter last week taught me. He not only knew his product and his audience--he knew himself too.
We could probably talk about confidence for weeks and not reach an end to that discussion. I know we'll probably come back to it. But I thought it was important to talk about today.
The coolest thing about this presenter was his unique voice. His accent was one I couldn't place and for someone who studies people, that's so much fun! I never asked him where he was from because I thought that might be rude, but I had my guesses. He spoke clearly, succintly, but in his own way. Because his voice was so unique, I'll remember it for a long time.
He didn't apologize for his different pronunciation or make any attempt to cover it. He came as himself. He was confident in his product, his ability to "sell" it, and in who he was. He did a great job--my mind didn't wander once.
How often do we approach writing (not personally, but professionally) with confidence? What about when we step out into the industry? Did anyone catch my qualifer on Wednesday, the paragraph where I felt I needed to explain that while I hadn't yet written a successful query, maybe there was something worthwhile in my post about querying? I always feel like I have to qualify myself to others as a writer--that I'm published but not in book form, but I'm trying to be, have written five novels, and have been pursuing publication for the past year. Why can't I just say, "I'm a writer" and be confident in that?
I have a beautiful friend who encourages me so much with writing. In front of me she'll tell others, "Kristen's a talented writer". She calls me "author". Every time something inside of me leaps in excitement and then what happens? I interject my qualifying statement about how I'm not published in book form yet and then mentally berate myself because my friend gave me something so priceless--her vote of confidence--and I want her to know it means the world to me. I'm learning to smile and accept the happy feeling of being known as a writer. I'm learning to claim that title. And you know what? It feels really good!
Do you do this? I'm trying to break this practice now, because I have a feeling it never ends. There are ways to qualify ourselves as writers even post-publication. Most of us know the insecurity of wondering if we're good enough, if we'll ever be published, or if we are, if we'll ever produce something equal in quality again. That alone might save us from being that idiot who's convinced he/she is God's gift to Art and wastes everyone's time (think certain auditions from American Idol). But lack of confidence won't sell our books to general readers, a publisher, an agent, or even to us. This is where I really went wrong last Spring when I queried. I wasn't confident. And it was clear in my query.
We need to know our stories and our audience. But we also need to know ourselves and trust our abilities (and the years we've spent honing our craft). I'm still learning how to do this and I don't know if I'll ever be all there. Maybe confidence is the achilles heel of most writers (whether too much or not enough). I know it's mine.
Do you qualify yourself? What have you learned about presenting yourself with confidence in the writing industry--and life in general?
See y'all Monday!
3 hours ago