Build Your Confidence as a Writer and Push that Fear Away

Hey there writers and muse daters, Annalisa Parent from the Writing Gym coming at you today. It’s an absolutely gorgeous day here in New England. There’s so much beautiful foliage at the end of foliage season. 

I’ve been out here walking with my dog, Mia and I find that walks are really a great time to think through what you’re writing. I was speaking with one of the writers in the Writing Gym this morning and I talked about shower moments or walk moments.

These are the moments when you’re doing something else and you suddenly solve a problem in your novel.

Often in the group, I talk a lot about the work that we’re doing in the Writing Gym and other people’s novels, but today I wanted to share some thoughts about my own novel, as I’ve been working on some revisions.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with knitting (I’m not a huge knitter), but I have tried to make some scarves before and in knitting, if you drop a stitch, then you have to like take the whole thing apart and go through all the rows. It’s a very scary experience because if you pick up the wrong thing or you drop one stitch, then you have to start all over.

That’s really the analogy for me. It feels like I tore my whole novel apart, but the really cool thing about it though, is that there was a time in my early writing life when that would have terrified me. 

It’s the same way that it terrifies me to do the same thing in knitting because I’m truly a beginner when it comes to knitting. But I’m an expert enough in writing now that I can see where all of my rows are, I can see where all of my stitches are, and it’s still a daunting task, but it’s not a scary, overwhelming task.

I share that because you know, there are a lot of writing classes, programs and workshops but as I was thinking about that experience in the work that I do with the really brave writers over in the Writing Gym.

It occurred to me that the fact that we at the Writing Gym are so open about our fears, we say “it’s scary to pull apart your novel,” “this is how I feel about this,” “I’m not sure if I can do this well.” We talk through these fears and give people strategies to work with. Which is amazing. 

Even my friends who are multiple times New York Times bestselling authors, when they’re starting a new book they’ll often say  “I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’m going to write,” “Maybe my editor’s wrong.”

Fear is just part of the process and in the Writing Gym, we’re helping people through those fears, we’re talking about them, we’re giving strategies. 

And I don’t know how much you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on here in the group, and over in the Writing Gym, but I’ve lost count of how many publishing contracts that we’ve gotten this year. It’s at least a dozen for people over in the Writing Gym and that’s exciting, that’s results.

Those results are really important, right, because people come to us and they say “I want to live the author lifestyle, I want to publish books and that’s awesome.” It’s wonderful and I’m super happy for them. I can tell you that those people are more confident than they were when they started. 

They love what they’re doing.

They’ve found joy in their writing again.

The publication is amazing,

But the skills to live the author lifestyle, to have that confidence, to take apart the novel and say,

“You know, this is a little overwhelming,”

“But I know what I’m doing I can see where my rows are.”

“I’m not going to drop any stitches. I know how to do this.”

“I got it.”

That to me, is the more amazing thing about what happens over in the Writing Gym.

So talk to me. What’s writing like for you these days? What are you afraid of, what’s coming up for you? What fears do you have, what would it be like to have that kind of confidence?

Tell me your story, let’s chat.

Until next time, happy writing.

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