Magic Happens When You Believe in Yourself
Believe in yourself. That’s when the magic begins. Believing in yourself is having confidence in your abilities. It means having a can-do attitude about things that you are capable of doing; this encompasses anything within your skill set. If you believe in yourself, you encourage yourself and you love yourself. It doesn’t mean you will never have doubts, but when you believe in yourself, you move beyond the doubt. Many things are possible if you just believe. That was corny. Okay, one more, “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” In other words, when common sense tells you something is impossible or unattainable, if you believe in yourself, that belief kicks in and you overcome the obstacle by taking inspired action.
So, why is it important to believe in yourself? Because believing in yourself is vital to success. Especially for aspiring authors. The publishing industry is difficult to break into. There is a lot of rejection, criticism, and the dreaded slush pile. When an author doesn’t hear back from an agent or publisher, the author is left wondering whether it’s their writing that’s lacking, whether the agent actually read their query, or whether the writing is good but not what the agent is looking for.
Agents receive a tremendous amount of queries every week. If your query letter doesn’t stand out in a good way, meaning there are grammatical and spelling errors, it comes across confusing, or it’s too wordy, (no pun intended) it will get rejected. Believing in yourself goes a long way in this situation. When one has confidence in themselves, one will find a way to correct mistakes and make things better.
As an aspiring author, if you’re not receiving any feedback at all from you query, not even a form response, I think it’s safe to assume your query may not be wowing the agents you’ve sent to. That isn’t always a reflection of your story. You may have a wonderful manuscript. Believe in your story, and make it the best it can be. Don’t wallow in self-doubt and self-pity, meet the challenge head-on. Either go back to the drawing board and rewrite or find a better solution like dispensing with the query altogether, hiring an editor, and self-publishing.
If you believe, you can achieve. The ability to believe in yourself is crucial to helping you set appropriate writing goals and following through with said goals. Setting concrete, realistic short and long-term goals will aid in your success. Why? Mapping out your objectives forces you to see things in black and white and holds you to a certain degree of accountability.
Adopt a winning strategy. Be your own cheerleader. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you too. Tell yourself you can do this. You can trim that query, fix it up, make it more appealing. Do the same with your WIP. Be open to the constructive feedback from others. Be willing to explore your genre in a way you hadn’t before. This will ensure you are on the right track and that you are including must-haves for that genre, like acceptable word count. Understand the writing craft. Sharpen your writing skills through practice and research then polish your story until it shines.
Fake it until you make it sounds like a boring and somewhat frightening cliché, but it makes sense. The more you tell yourself how capable you are and the more you listen to that little voice that says, “I think I can,” the more you will come to believe that you truly can. Learn to trust that new voice that has the audacity to be courageous. Let it encourage you more and more every day and one day you won’t need to “fake it” anymore. Believing in yourself will come naturally.
As I always preach, positive in, negative out. Get rid of limiting beliefs that hold you back from realizing your goals and dreams. Write from your heart and soul. Your story matters and deserves to be told. If you are willing to learn and change and educate yourself about the publishing industry, whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, you can succeed. The trick is to build a thick skin so that you don’t take constructive criticism personally but instead use it to strengthen your manuscript, if and when it makes sense. This is not always easy, but like anything else, if you practice accepting feedback with the thought that it has nothing to do with you personally and can actually improve your story, it will get easier. And that speaks to believing in yourself in a big way.
Another strategy to help you believe in yourself is to imagine that your book is already written and published. Imagine it on the bookshelf. When your thoughts are optimistic, not pie in the sky, but constructive, affirmative, and encouraging, you will begin to attract experiences and solutions that lead you to your end goal, your dream of becoming a published author.
Celebrate your accomplishments both big and small. Learn to tell yourself you did a good job. Practice rejoicing in your successes by rewarding yourself. This may be different for everyone, but for example, if you wrote a kickass query and sent it to five agents or you finished another chapter of your manuscript, gift yourself a massage, or raise your wineglass and salute yourself for a task well done. Scratch it off your to-do list like a boss.
Paying yourself emotionally is a must. When you face a fear like sending your work out to be evaluated that’s a huge achievement. Make sure to compliment yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back. Finding out that you can do something makes it easier the next time you’re faced with something that causes you anxiety. Remind yourself that you accomplished something similar. Own it, practice it, do it again.
Nothing screams belief in yourself more than mentoring. When someone reaches out to you for writing advice, give of yourself, support and encourage that fellow writer. Remember being in that position yourself as you started out as an aspiring author. Even if you’re not yet published you possess valuable writing knowledge that others can benefit from. When you share your writing knowledge and are willing to help others with their writing struggles it’s impossible not to believe in yourself.
I highly recommend immersing yourself in all things writing by surrounding yourself with other writers and aspiring authors who share your love of writing and cheer your successes. Start a critique group, join an online writing forum. Thinking about self-publishing? Make it your business to interact with self-published authors so you can learn the ins and outs, the essentials, the pitfalls, the rewards, and everything else. All of these experiences can help you believe in yourself.
Believe in yourself. That’s when the magic happens. Learning to believe in yourself is growth. Grow as a writer and a person. Always do your best and keep doing that every day.