In preparation for the Daily Mail competition I detailed in my previous post Competition Dilemma, I have noticed one rather big and important thing about myself. I am currently lacking creative confidence. Big time. Why is this? I think between work and agent rejections, I’ve taken my eye off the prize a bit.
I think back to my earliest thought about why I wanted to write full time as a career, and I recall myself wanting to help people. I’m sure many people have experienced, even with just one book, one big life changing moment; a moment which helped you to realise or articulate something; a moment which assured you that you weren’t alone or that there was some hope. All I’ve ever wanted to do is create that moment for someone else.
But since reworking chapter one of Latest Mistake, I find that I doubt my abilities, my passion, my motivation. Writing alone on Saturday night with back to back episodes of House on in the background, I really struggled. Maybe it was because in my head Latest Mistake is finished and reworking the opening is odd to me, or maybe it was because I was questioning how far I would go in order to get published.
I would go pretty far, hence me trying this competition out and seeing what happens. But, as I copy and pasted, deleted and then put back in, I found myself flustered, confused, lacking the ability to make a decision and stick with it, which is the worst kind of frustration for a writer. In the end I told myself, like I am telling myself now, if I don’t push myself, no one will. If I don’t sacrifice a little, I won’t gain anything. So, I persevered and I completed the chapter and felt good about myself.
It became alarmingly clear that I need to come up with ways to boost my creative confidence. I’ve had some lovely compliments on my writing recently. Surely the agent rejections alone can’t be responsible for this? I need to find a way to believe in myself again and get back to the basics. To move human beings, I need to be human, in myself, in my writing. I need to be raw and unapologetic. And mostly importantly, not ruled by fear, to which I often fall foul. Does anyone how many times a day I ask myself, if I don’t get published, then what? It’s many.
I stumbled across a great Ted talk given by a man called David Kelley. He talks about the processes of building creative confidence, how to think outside the box and how fear or disappointment can motivate us to change. Maybe that’s what I’m doing now by reworking the opening of Latest Mistake. Watch it here: