Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Confidence & How To Get It...


I have a confession...I've been struggling with my confidence just lately.  It's kind of strange because when I was a teacher I knew I was a good teacher.  My thoughts in that are validated by the students who stay in touch with me and occasionally come to me for advice.  But I stopped teaching about 6 years ago and have been searching for something I am good at ever since.  I want to be a great writer, but getting published is hard.  I have a few minor publications under my belt, but nothing major.  So how do I build my confidence back up?

I've been reading this wonderful book called Manage Your Mind by Gillian Butler and Tony Hope.  I thought I'd share some of the high points and my interpretations of the chapter I just finished.


  • Recognize that you are confident in certain areas. (Don't focus on just one area of weakness.)
  • Understand that people who appear to be confident all the time may not be as confident as you think.
  • Work on gaining confidence by doing things. (Keep trying to get published in a variety of venues.)
  • Use positive talk about yourself. (If you tell people you are no good, they might believe you and you will believe it.)
  • Practice having confidence.(Pretend you are in a play and you are the confident charming character that everyone loves. I do this all the time at conferences.)
  • Learn from your mistakes, but don't let them define you. (What's done is done, and move forward.)
  • Don't allow yourself to use negative self talk. (Speak encouragingly to yourself, just like you would to a friend.)
  • Always be kind to yourself. (Apply the same standards to yourself that you do to others.)
  • Don't undervalue yourself. (I have a lot of trouble with this one. Recognize that you bring something to the table.)
  • Do the best you can, but don't make yourself feel bad for not being perfect.  (Would you ditch a friend  because they weren't perfect?  I doubt it.)
  • Spend time (real or virtual) with people who make you feel good.  (Remove negative influences from your life.  If someone is not bringing something positive to your relationship, then it's time to move on. Did you know you can hide people on Facebook, so you don't have to see their posts?)
Something I realized as I was writing this post is that you should treat yourself the same way you treat your friends.  Wow...(dramatic pause, cause a huge light bulb just went off in my head.)

On a positive note...My writing tip was chosen as the Tuesday Tip on Literary Rambles.  I am so excited that Casey and Natalie thought it was worthy of being on their awesome blog.  (Note the positive self /public talk here.)  

What do you do to keep your self confidence level up?  

38 comments:

TC Avey said...

Thanks for sharing, I needed these helpful tips to remind me that we all struggle.

One thing that I do when I am feeling less than my best is spend time with God. To Him, I am a prize worth dying for and in Him nothing is impossible.

Dawn Malone said...

We all struggle with these feelings, and I'm sorry you're feeling this way. Being around other writers (conferences and critique groups) always helps me. The energy and encouragement renews my belief that anything is possible as long as I don't give up.

Bluestocking said...

I do think it's tough with knowing where you stand in writing -- it's not like other fields/occupations where there's all these metrics and outside feedback. There's just you and the page and if you're lucky the feedback from some trusted readers. I think we forget just how long a process writing for publication can be. But it's worth it (I hear). Just got to keep working and try to remember that initial spark that got you interested in the first place.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon .. I have to say if I hadn't have found all my blogging friends and connections - that's made a huge difference. I'm not sure exactly what I'll do in the future - but somewhere my writing will feature and I'll be out there promoting myself.

I have to say I look at others and think how lucky I am - as I know I've got a lot going for me - I think that's it .. knowing you have it and keeping cheery - so so many others are at a huge disadvantage. I don't dwell on things .. I'm pretty independent and keep on keeping on ..

I turn on my heel (mentally) and move on ...

Spring is here - record things rather than write them .. Good luck anyway .. You're doing fine - cheers and thoughts - Hilary

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Such great lessons! And I know about that light-bulb moment! I had one of those a while ago, about not saying things in your own head that you would never in a million years say to your dearest friend. How can we treat ourselves so badly, sometimes?

Great post!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

p.s. I forgot to answer the question! I keep my self-confidence up by remembering that I've done things (writing, critiquing, speaking, etc) well in the past, so it's reasonable to expect that I could do it again. And I go back to centering myself on my work (writing, creating). When I do that, the confidence comes back, because I love what I do.

Melissa Sarno said...

Most of the time, I pretend I'm confident and my hope is that someday it will be true. And, as a side note, if you need a boost, you know I'll be there :)

Brian said...

Just be you, and know you are darn good at it!

Old Kitty said...

Always give yourself hugs and pats on the back for being lovely, Sharon K Mayhew!! And I so agree about removing negative influences from one's life!

Take care
x

Carolyn V said...

That is all such good advice! I have the negative talk. It never helps AT ALL. Hate it. But I'm going to try out your list and see if it helps. Thanks Sharon! <3

p.s. You're awesome.

Munir said...

These are such good points. I am sure that you are a very confident person and can write beautiful works of literature. Your blogs are very nicely written and being published is not easy. Wish you all the best.
Also, I you still doing the critique exchange. Please let me know. Hopefully I will be able to help.

Janet Johnson said...

I love your list! I think we have been on the same boat. I'm very confident in a lot of areas of my life, but the writing/publishing thing just turns me to a pool of mush in the confidence department. Thank you for sharing your tips! And having read at least a little of your work, I'll throw in my two cents:

You are a good writer! Keep at it!!! :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

That was such an awesome tip you shared today. I love your list too. It's important to remember that we're all not confident at times, especially in our writing and in important transitions in our life. I'm going through the start of a huge challenge in my work life and I have to remember not to tell myself negative messages about it. Thanks for reminding me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Fabulous list! I tend to fake confidence quite a bit, but it does sometimes build into real confidence too :)

Bethie said...

Thanks for the post. I know I can always use a boost of confidence.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi! i alway think bout your for having lots of confidence so i got a surprise that youre having a little doubts on it. cool tips from that book. mostly i like best the one that says by kind to yourself. for sure you should treat your self like youre your best friend. :) its cool that your writing tips on that blog. im gonna go read it. for me i dont think about doing something to get more confidence. it just happens cause friend like you say real nice stuff to me and that gives me a big heap of confidence.
...hugs from lenny

Medeia Sharif said...

I focus on my accomplishments, stay away from negative people, and I keep my goals in mind.

Thank you for sharing this list. I've had my low points. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

MaDonna Maurer said...

Great list Sharon! Thanks for sharing...yep, I'm joining this group. Hi, my name is MaDonna and I struggle with confidence in writing, parenting, etc.
I would say that when I struggle, I first have to admit that my ability in whatever is not what defines me. I have to go back to the foundations of who I am. I'm a Christian, so I have to go back to who I am in Christ. Then, once I get a hold of that concept again...I tackle the project to better my craft.
btw, I checked out your tip...THAT is an awesome idea and I'm so going to do that!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Sharon! Checked out your tip. That is a great idea!

I struggle with confidence, but I think it is because I put a lot of pressure on myself. I read what others have written and wonder if I'll ever be as good.

I'll check out the book you mentioned. It sounds interesting.

Theresa Milstein said...

Sharon, I struggle with this too. We all do. Thanks for the tips to fight it. This is a hard business with little validation. I try to focus on the small victories. I think you're talented.

Julie Hedlund said...

I know exactly how you feel. I had built up a large degree of influence and knowledge in my previous career and I KNEW I was good. Trying to publish your writing is the BEST way to test how confident you are - LOL.

Robyn Campbell said...

You know, bestie, we all struggle with this. Your tips are excellent and I just might have to check into that book you're reading. You know where I stand with self-esteem issues. (Bottom of the heap) Love that dramatic pause. :-) You are the best bestie there is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And might I add, a terrific writer who is preparing to answer the knock at the door. *wink*

Terri Tiffany said...

Great post! I struggle with self confidence all the time especially when I am not working. I love some of your tips!

Beth said...

Congratulations! I'm on my way to comment on your Tuesday Tip.

We all have moments of self-doubt, and this is great advice to remember at such times.

klahanie said...

Greetings Sharon,
Firstly, I greatly admire your honesty and transparency.
The points you have shared from that book by Gillian Butler and the appropriately named Tony Hope, are points to be embraced.
One thing I challenge is to try not to listen to my 'inner critic' because the inner critic tells me lies.
To be involved with positive resources is an inspirational tonic to help maintain a sense of well being. The bottom line is we have to genuinely believe in our abilities and the rest may well fall into place.
Thanks Sharon and happy writing to you :)
Hugs, your way, Gary

Hema P. said...

Great points, Sharon! It is so true that we sometimes don't extend the same courtesies to ourselves that we do to our family and friends, right? Thanks for sharing these.

Susan Fields said...

Great post, Sharon! To keep my self confidence up when it comes to writing, I guess I just try to focus on positive comments I've gotten in the past, either from agents or beta readers or friends.

Romance Book Haven said...

These are very good and helpful tips. Thanks for sharing.

Donna McDine said...

Sharon,

Wonderful tips! You are a great writer. You just have not find the right fit with the publisher that will be best for you. Hang in there!

Best regards,
Donna

SA Larsenッ said...

Negative to self our anyone else never does any good. I'm a firm believer in positive thinking and doing draws more of the same.

Now, is this always easy for me to accomplish? Heck, no. But that's just another reason why people like you are so important to me! You keep me on my positive toes.

J.L. Campbell said...

Congrats on your selection for the Tuesday tip and thanks so much for this post. This is just what I need right now. I'll be back to read this.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Wow! Fabulous tips! And so true. We have to work at being confident!

Romance Reader said...

Thanks for sharing, I needed these helpful tips to remind me now that I'm facing some major exams!

Riya

LynNerdKelley said...

Thanks for sharing all these great tips with us, Sharon. Sometimes I feel like an impostor! My confidence level goes up and down. Plenty of sleep seems to help!

M said...

Good points...I never really lacked in confidence until the "new, younger, too cool" teachers at my old school began to ditch the older teachers... like going to lunch on early release days, etc. Solved when I moved schools and the younger folks there are kind and fun and treat me like an equal.

Keep writing :)

The Desert Rocks said...

I sing that song from the Sound of Music, "I have confidence in sunshine...I have confidence in rain...." and when that doesn't work I try to remember my achievements. Great post Sharon and it's something I struggle with everyday.

Lynda R Young said...

It's amazing how much it helps knowing that people aren't always as confident as they appear. :)
And being kind to myself.

udita said...

the tips are worth practicing....*thumbs up*
keep enlightening us with such great thoughts :)