Build Your Confidence as a Writer and Push that Fear Away

Today, it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in New England. There’s so much beautiful foliage, and I’ve been out here walking with my dog, Mia.  

I find that walks are really a great time to think through what you’re writing.

I spoke with one of the writers in the Writing Gym this morning, and we 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 about the work we’re doing in the Writing Gym and other people’s novels, but today I wanted to share 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, you have to like take the whole thing apart and go through all the rows. It’s a scary experience, because if you pick up the wrong thing or you drop one stitch, you have to start all over.

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

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 and stitches are. It’s still a daunting task, but no longer scary or overwhelming.

I share this because you know there are a lot of writing classes, programs, and workshops, but as I was thinking about the work I do with our brave writers in the Writing Gym, it occurred to me that we are 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.” In the Writing Gym, we talk through these fears and give people strategies to work with. 

Even my friends, who are multiple times New York Times bestselling authors, will often say when starting a new book,  “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 by talking about them and giving strategies. 

I don’t know how much you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on here in the group and in the Writing Gym, but I’ve lost count of how many publishing contracts 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 important, because people come to us and say, “I want to live the author lifestyle,” “I want to publish books.” It’s wonderful, and I’m happy for these writers.

I can tell those people are more confident than they were when they started. 

  • They love what they’re doing.
  • They’ve found joy in writing again.
  • They’re publishing.

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 most amazing thing that happens 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, and 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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