Starting next week, I will be running a new series on my blog featuring stories from successful authors, in their own words, about the dark side of publishing. As an archaeologist, I know you have to push through a lot of mud to get the artifacts. As a forensic anthropologist, I know you have to slog through a lot of goo to get to the bones. As an IT guy, I know you have do a lot of installs to get the right to trouble-shoot something interesting. As a writer, I know that you have to face a lot of challenges to get where you want to be, too. The stories I will be featuring will give each author an opportunity to focus on a challenge they had to face, how they overcame it, and the success that was waiting on the other side. There's no easy route, but the hard path can be traveled, and that's what I want to encourage my blog's readers with.
So please stay tuned for more information on upcoming posts in that series, starting next week!
As a little bit of my own prelude to that, I wanted to talk a little about confidence. We all know it's important, but as I sit here facing down three do-or-die tests that stand between me and my EMT certification, I am aware that I am confident, but also nervous. Confidence cum nervousness seems a bit paradoxical, so I thought we could explore the ises and the isn'ts of confidence.
- Trusting in your strengths.
- Being able to face your weaknesses without fear.
- Being willing to admit your weaknesses without embarrassment.
- Comfort with where you're at in your development.
- Eschewing intimidation.
- Have pride in yourself and your product.
- Having humility and appreciation of others and their products.
Confidence is not...
- Boasting or swaggering.
- Feeling invulnerable.
- Wanting to prove yourself.
- Wanting to disprove your critics.
- A sense of superiority.
- Complacency with your development.
That's where I am as I look at these tests. I'm confident in my competency and in my ability to function as an EMT and to satisfy the requirements of the test. But because I'm confident I can also admit that in a testing situation I'm vulnerable to focusing on the big picture at the potential expense of careless, little mistakes. I'm confident that I will be certified as an EMT when all is said and done. But because I'm confident I can also confess to you that I am the world's worst at waiting, and my impatience can make me careless.
So, yes. Confident and nervous at the same time.
Which seems like a good place to be.
And I think it's where we need to be as writer's too. You want to be confident in an authentic way, that includes humility. When you truly believe in yourself and your writing, you're okay with admitting your weaknesses, because you trust that you can overcome them. When you're confident in your writing, you should trust in yourself and your stories, but it's okay to be nervous, too, because it means that you're admitting to yourself that you're not perfect and that not everything is under your control.
Feeling invulnerable isn't confidence.
And ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't make you a better writer.
I deliberately left the lists incomplete, avoiding even a few other items that came to my mind, because I'd love to hear from you all: what are some other things that confidence is -- and isn't?