Does the fear of not being ‘good enough’ overwhelm you and stop you in achieving your creative goals? Have you ever felt defeated before you even begin the writing process?
The good news is that you’re not alone and there is a reason why you are feeling this way. Many people such as writers have felt at some point in their lives a drop in their creative confidence.
The great news is that there are proven ways to end the turmoil and gain back your confidence. By the end of this Creative Confidence in 6 simple steps, you will learn the basic strategies that I personally use to get back on my game and get creative.
Many people steer clear from their creative dreams believing that they can’t achieve it. Much of the time it is before they even get started.
So where does the lack of confidence come from? David Kelly, founder of legendary design firm IDEO, explains in his popular TED Talk that during childhood we “opt out” of seeing ourselves as creative beings and rather that only a rare few have creative talent. He goes on to explain then we have a fear of judgement when it comes to creativity. If we choose not to be creative, we don’t get judged and seen by others in a negative light.
1. Get started Now!
It sounds simple. Right? For many people the idea of sitting down day after day writing endlessly for sometimes a year or more is overwhelming and scary, so they put it off. They have all these amazing stories that want to come out, but never get the chance. Pumping out a thousand words or more during each writing session may not work for you. And that’s totally ok!
All you need to do is grab your computer (or pen and paper) and write a single sentence. That’s all it takes to get started. It doesn’t sound like much does it? Chances are that once you write that first sentence, more will follow. It doesn’t need to be perfect. But by actually sitting down and just writing that first sentence each day, you have overcome one of the biggest obstacles in your path to achieving your creative dreams. Go for it, and just do it!
2. Brain Dump
Oh this is one of my favourites. A brain dump is about decluttering what’s in your head and creating a clear and focused space for your imagination and confidence to flow. We have so much going on in our minds at one time, like; I really have to do that load of washing, I wonder how such and such is going, I have to clean the kitchen, or why don’t my kids listen? Get rid of all that and declutter your brain for the sake of your creative confidence.
So, this is what you need to do. Open up a blank word document and write for as long as you feel you need to. Write down everything that goes through your mind. Your feelings, things you have to do, things you want to understand, ideas for a character, random stuff. It can be a total mash up of everything. Who knows what might come from it. Every time I do a Brain Dump I feel like I understand myself better, I have more clarity, and I feel much more confident in my own creative endeavours.
3. Forget whether it is good enough for others (this includes publishers)
For a long time I was constantly worried about what a publisher would think of my writing. Would my dreams be totally destroyed by an editor or publisher? I was so concerned with what I thought what others were going to think, that most of the time I didn’t even start. I had all these story ideas that would not see the light of day simply because I didn’t even give them a chance. If you have felt this way, it can really deflate your creative confidence which is a huge sadness.
What you need to do right now is let it go! Every person on the planet is creative including you. Yes, you! This lack of creative confidence is just our childhood self telling us not to give it a go because we don’t want to be judged. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. You are the author of your life, not anyone else. So pick up that pen and start writing (or typing)! Go for it and let your creativity shine.
4. Listen to yourself (really listen!)
Take a moment and sit or lay down. What ever you feel more comfortable with. I personally lay on my kid’s trampoline (not while they are jumping on it of course). Take the time to be still and quiet. Listen to what is around you. Relax. If you have any thoughts, let them flow. Don’t fight any thoughts you have.
After a while of relaxing, think about what you believe in. Think about what you value in your life. Think about what makes you happy and uplifted. If you had no restrictions, whether it is financial, physical, emotional, or mental, what would you do? Hold these in your thoughts. What would you like to do? Is it to be a best selling author of a fantasy novel, a poet, a successful blogger, a travel writer who travels the world eating delicious foods and experiencing first hand the most amazing things in life.
After you have determined what it is you really want deep down, write the goal down. Then write action steps to achieve it. Place the written goal and action steps up in a prominent view. It must be somewhere where you will see it every day.
If you ever feel yourself sliding away from your goals, repeat this exercise of listening to yourself. We are all human and we do occasionally slide from our goals. But it’s up to you to get back inline with them and achieve your creative goals. You can do anything, no matter what it is.
5. What interests you?
What are you really passionate about? Is there something that you feel as though you can talk about for hours? Or is it something that really gets you ticked off? Or something that makes you feel incredibly happy? Write about it. When you write about something that makes you feel intense emotion like passion or anger, our true voice comes alive and our confidence in the subject peaks. For example, I am passionate about helping people realise their creative purposes and anything to do with Paris! And there are things that rally me up and get me angry like when equal rights, feminism, animal welfare, and child protection (among so many more) don’t get the awareness and recognition they need.
When you write about what you are passionate about, you let go of everything holding you back and you are being totally true to yourself and your purpose. If you are passionate about writing a historical fiction novel but think its ‘wiser’ for you to write a young adult fiction with Vampires because you think it might make more money due to mass market appeal; don’t! Make your mark with your own passions and be proud of who you are and what you write.
6. Develop new habits.
Many people have an innate desire to write something great, but always put it off. The difference between a writer and an aspiring writer is habit. Developing positive habits are really important in building your creative confidence. This is simply because when we commit ourselves to doing something, such as writing, on a consistent basis our confidence grows as we become more knowledgeable and skilful. For instance, I used to run my own cake decorating business from home a few years back. I never had any formal qualifications on cake decorating. I just taught myself through reading, watching videos, and just getting in there and doing it. I made a habit of cake decorating and I became quite confident at it through practice.
What you need to do is develop a writing habit that you know you can stick to. First think of a trigger or cue that makes you think about sitting down and writing. This could be as simple as a note on your bathroom mirror saying ‘10 mins writing now’. Or it could be setting up your writing space before bed so when you wake up in the morning everything is ready for you to start writing. Your trigger could be anything.
Next is the routine. The routine is the practice of writing itself. You actually have to sit down and write, even for 10-20 minutes. Then finally there is the reward. To make habits stick we need a reward at the end. It may be that you actually enjoy the fact that you’ve completed a thousand words in an hour. Or it could be a delicious cup of coffee and some chocolate after the work has been done (that’s my little personal reward after a writing session ha ha).
Hopefully this has given you some strategies to go with in helping you achieve your creative goals. If you have any questions or opinions I would absolutely love to read them in the comments section.