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Five Easy Ways to Become a
by Angela Booth
A healthy measure of confidence is vital to your growth and success as a writer.
If you feel that you need more confidence, start working on developing your
confidence NOW. Without a reasonable measure of confidence, you wonít even
attempt writing assignments which are well within your capabilities.
Being confident means trusting yourself. I tell my copywriting students: "If you
can write a letter that people can read and understand, you can write copy." Not
only can you write copy, you can write just about anything you can set your mind
to. If you're a writer, you can write magazine articles, novels or nonfiction
books---because they're just changes of form. When you've become a confident
writer, picking up a new set of writing skills
takes no time at all.
Want to become more confident? Try these five ways:
One: Write a lot
Develop a writing practice. You can only become comfortable with the act of
writing by writing---a lot. When you write each day, you become comfortable
putting words on the page, and doing it day after day, after day.
The only way to do this is to do it. It's the same with any skill---use it, or
lose it. Sports people know this. So do pianists, ballet dancers and artists.
You must practice.
Practice means writing just for the sake of writing. Your practice work
is not-for-publication writing. Many writers have problems with this, feeling
that they're wasting time. You're not, any more than a ballet dancer wastes time
as she practices for hours each day to stay limber. You must practice to keep the writing
connections active between your left and right brain. If I donít do any practice
writing for a day, I can feel it---my writing flows less well, and it takes me
twice as long as it should to write an article or a chapter in my novel. A famous concert pianist
said that if he didnít practice for two days he noticed, if he didnít practice
for three days the audience noticed.
Here's a challenge: write a thousand words a day for the next 14 days. Just
write a thousand words a day in your journal. At the start of your 14-day stint, take a measure of your writing confidence on a scale of one to ten. One
indicates low confidence, ten is highly confident. At the end of 14 days, measure your confidence again. At the end of the 14 days you will find that your
confidence has at least doubled.
When you write every day, you train your mind. If you donít write every day,
your mind becomes flabby. It doesnít matter what you write, just write.
Your EveryDay Write, our free daily e-zine, will help you with your writing
practice. You get a writing prompt and a writing tip in your Inbox each day. For
more information go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/YourEveryDayWrite or to subscribe send a blank
Two: Share your writing
Sharing your writing takes courage. However, unless you're prepared to share
your writing, you canít become a confident writer. Writers write to be read,
How do you do this?
■ join a writers' group
■ offer your writing for sale; or
■ create a blog (Web log).
When you begin to share your writing, you'll be nervous. After several months,
your nervousness will fade. After a year or two, you wonít remember that you
were ever nervous.
Writing is part of modern culture, and writing changes over time. A novel
written a hundred years ago is very different from a modern novel. Writing for
the Web is different from writing for print. All magazines, whether they're for
a general or a trade audience, have a different voice. You'll become aware of the voice of a
publication by reading it. Similarly, your voice when you write a genre novel
will be different from your voice for a mainstream novel.
You need to read enough to assimilate much of this type of information
subconsciously. Read anything and everything. What you read isnít as important
as the act of reading.
Four: Trust yourself
When you write every day, and combine this with reading, you will become aware
of what you'd like to write. You'll read something and think: "I could write
that!" Many novelists start off reading a particular genre---romance, mystery,
fantasy---and get an "Aha!" moment like this.
Trust yourself. If you think you can, you can. However, this doesnít mean that
it will be effortless. You'll need to develop craft. Give yourself plenty of
time to learn, and enjoy the learning process.
Trusting yourself is vital to the learning. If you think you could write a
romance novel, you can. You may need to write five novels before you sell the
first one, however. Take heart. Once you've sold the first one you'll be able to
tweak the others and sell them too.
Five: Befriend your anxiety
If you develop a writing practice, where you write every day just because you're
a writer, you'll have less writing anxiety.
That said, writing anxiety is common. It's a form of performance anxiety. Actors
get stage fright, writers get page fright.
Expect to become anxious. Then realize that itís just something that happens and
carry on writing anyway. Some researchers feel that the anxiety occurs because
your brain is switching gears, from beta consciousness to alpha. If you wish, you can time your anxiety. From
the time you start a writing session on a specific piece of work, you'll notice
that your anxiety never lasts for longer than 11 minutes. This tends to bear
out the beta to alpha switching theory.
You CAN become a confident writer. Start by writing more. The more you
write, the more you will grow as a writer. The five easy ways above will
increase your confidence---that's guaranteed. And with unlimited confidence in
yourself as a writer, you can achieve any writing goals you choose to set for yourself.
To read more articles by Angela Booth, visit the Digital-e
Web site--Information for writers and creatives. Ebooks, free ezines, Creatives
Club. Love to write? Turn your talent into a business!
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