Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Confident Writer

By Mayowa Atte

Late at night, when sleep refuses my entreaties, I ask myself; what must I do to write the Truth? What must I do to write it well, to have it clench my reader’s heart in its fist and pump horror, laugher, lust, love, sorrow and joy within? The answer never comes. In the morning, I write.

Then there are other nights, when I am sure that I am a hack and a copycat. I am sure readers will pee themselves in laughter at my feeble prose. In the morning, I write.

Confidence, it is a writer’s secret weapon.

But how do we build confidence? By writing the right story and by putting in the work.

The right story always nags a writer, whispers to the writer at night, pinches the writer during meetings and dates until the writer writes it down. When a writer is writing this story, the writer can be confident in his/her creativity. This story is yours and yours alone, no one else can write it like you can. The words will come.

The other way to gain confidence is to put in the work. When a writer has studied the craft, has labored before the empty page and sacrificed free time for the story, the writer can be confident in his/her finished work. When a writer puts everything into a story, it is more than just words on a page. It is life.

So when doubt creeps into our hearts, confidence beats it back. When the empty page tries to stay empty, confidence fills it with words. When our writing is dull, confidence helps us break the rules and achieve the omnipotent power of voice. When a critique hurts, confidence soothes us. When another rejection crashes into our inbox, confidence makes us send out two query letters in its place.

We are confident because we are writing the right stories, because we put everything into them and hold nothing back.

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