Somedays when we sit down at our keyboard to do our word-stint for the day, it is hard. We have an abusive Inner Critic who is laughing and saying, ‘What, YOU a poet or writer? Give me a break! You can’t even write a grocery list!’
But it is an essential thing for poets and writers to believe in themselves. If you don’t believe you are a ‘real’ poet or writer, how can you con someone else— like an editor— into believing it? No one wants to buy a story or novel from a ‘fake’ writer. No one rushes out to purchase the latest book by a ‘fake’ writer. And the first step toward becoming a real boy— excuse me, a real writer— is believing you are one, yourself.
You may be saying, ‘Yeah, I should believe in myself as a writer, but what about that hopeless writer-wannabe over there. You don’t think HE should believe in HIMSELF, do you?’
Well, maybe he should. Let’s look at the example of Andrew. Andrew cannot seem to write one sentence without a mistake in spelling, grammar or punctuation. His plots are stereotypes. OLD stereotypes. And his characters are unlovable robots moving through predictable plots without doing anything to attract the readers.
Now, let us divide Andrew into TWO bad writers. Andrew 1 does not believe in himself as a writer. Andrew 2 is starting to believe in himself as a writer. What will happen when the Andrews both get writing reviews complaining of the spelling, grammar and punctuation? Andrew 1 gets offended at the reviewer and does nothing to change. He knows deep down he’s pretty hopeless as a writer, so why bother spending time trying to improve his skills?
Andrew 2, on the other hand, notices that this review is bringing up a topic that other reviewers have often complained about. So he sets out to improve on these points— because he thinks he is a good writer, he has every reason to improve his skills.
The same thing will happen on the other topics. Andrew 1 will not feel, in his heart, it is worth while to improve as a writer when he knows he’s hopeless. Andrew 2 ‘knows’ he’s a ‘real’ writer, and has read that real writers are always working to improve their craft. So Andrew 2 keeps trying to improve. And maybe he will become the good writer he thinks he is. Or maybe he will just be a more skilled bad writer. Either outcome is an improvement.
So— you have got to believe in yourself. What is one thing you can do today that shows you believe that you are a writer and/or poet? To believe in yourself you have to act like you believe in yourself. One author says he bought himself a coffee mug that said ‘writer’ on it. What I did was add the word ‘poet’ to several titles of my social media pages.
So, what will YOU do?