George Clooney was on Inside the Actor’s Studio a few weeks ago, and a few things he said struck me as a writer.
He was talking about going in for auditions and the handling of rejection. I am paraphrasing here. Clooney stated as an actor, you are selling yourself. There is nothing else, so when you get rejected, they are rejecting you. If they don’t like it, you can’t sell them another vacuum cleaner or car.
Clooney went on to say that when you walk in, you are not selling acting, you are selling confidence.
“Confidence is one of the big things you’re selling.”
Is this the same with writing? Bearing your soul and hoping your confidence can sell it?
Confidence weaves in and out of the lives of many writers. Especially in the beginning. Some days, you wake up and words flow flawlessly. Clients are calling or emailing you for work and your confidence is high. Other days, writing can be a struggle. Inspiration eludes you and your inbox is empty.
In the end, when you feel confident, doubt hides and self-assurance reveals itself. The writing comes easier. You feel optimistic and begin to chase down profitable opportunities. More doors open. When you can sell your writing, you make more money.
How Do You Boost Your Confidence?
1. Focus on Your Strengths
Chances are there are writing topics or styles you feel more confident about than others. Offer the services you excel in. Some people feel more comfortable with blog posts or copywriting than technical papers. Write about topics you know well or enjoy writing about. Become an expert in your niche. This doesn’t mean that you can’t expand to other writing areas, but focus on the things you are good at. Once you become confident in those skills, you may want to be open to other areas.
2. Be Open to Constructive Critiques and Learn
I understand how difficult it can be to get negative feedback on your writing. Adopt a positive mindset. Take it and learn from it – let it motivate you to improve your writing.
Every writer has room for improvement. Some people have a tendency to be negative without providing any constructive feedback. Don’t put too much thought into it and move on. Take the helpful advice and put the feedback to use by improving your skills. View every new writing project as a new opportunity to learn and improve your writing skills.
3. Read About Writing
Most writing experts will tell you that behind every good writer is a good reader. Take a proactive approach to reading. Dig into your niche and see what others are writing about. Read about writing. Just like any career, it is important to stay educated in your industry. Find blogs written by writing experts. Take writing classes and read books that offer advice on becoming a successful writer.
4. Share Your Knowledge, Network, and Connect
As a profession, writing can leave you feeling isolated. Connect with other writers. Networking is part of your professional development. Simply speaking and sharing your knowledge with other writers can help you build your confidence and get fresh perspectives. Connecting with other writers can help you realize that they are dealing with similar challenges you are and how they adapt to these challenges. You begin to feel better about your writing skills and career path.
When people outside your career ask you what your profession is, confidently tell them you are a writer. Soon you will gain confidence and grow as a professional writer.
Practice, practice, and then rehearse again. Exercise your writing brain. It really is the best way to improve your skills and the more you write, the better you will become. This is such an important recommendation that it is almost become cliché to even mention it. Enough said.
6. Start Raising Your Rates for New Customers
Raise your rates. Sounds like a risky step, right? However, when you raise your rates, and clients pay them, you begin to realize that you actually may have a talent at this writing thing. Additionally, your client’s expectations begin to rise when your rates increase. This forces you to put you best writing foot forward.
Celebrate the positive feedback your clients give you. Relish in the inspirational moments and don’t stress during the struggling ones. Learn from the constructive feedback, and realize that writing is a continual process of growth and improvement. Confidence comes with experience. Apply your strengths, read, write even more, and network with other writers to expand your experience and boost your confidence.