Every writer doubts themselves. Some of us do it more than others. We doubt our skill, we doubt our worth as writers, we doubt we have what it takes, and some days we question whether we should be writing at all. Somewhere along the way, I think we all have these moments, especially at first. Times where we don’t believe in ourselves, where everything feels like an uphill battle that we’re never going to win. We start out with skills in storytelling that fall far short of our expectations. We know we SHOULD be able to do better, but we don’t yet know how to do it better.
Sometimes, we give up. For some, it’s just for a moment, for others it’s for months or even years. And for some, sadly, it’s forever.
But most of us keep going, always getting better at what we do, until one day, we receive The Gift. When we get it, most times, we don’t even know it. Other times, it’s so overwhelming that we find ourselves in tears. Sometimes, it takes us years to understand that we have it. But the change is so fundamental that you find yourself wanting to give it to other writers, too.
What is The Gift?
It’s simple. Not easy, but simple. The Gift is nothing more than faith in yourself. It’s when saying “I can do this” stops being an affirmation and becomes a fact, a foregone conclusion that you believe with the same certainty as gravity. When you know you can finish that novel, and when you know it’s good.
Jim Butcher gave me The Gift. Somewhere around page 15 of Dead Beat, I realized that this was similar to the voice I wrote with. That if this guy was a NYT Bestseller, then I really DID have a shot at making it as a writer. The agent who queried me proactively gave it to me again. My readers give it to me every time they buy my books, leave reviews or leave me a comment or a message.
So, when people ask me what one piece of advice I would give an aspiring writer, I’m a little flustered. I can tell them to believe in themselves all day long, the words are going to ring hollow until they receive the Gift. Instead, I wish I could just give them the Gift. Sometimes, though, I can. Sometimes, you’ll have those moments where you’re the right person, in the right place, at the right time. And you get to see the look in someone’s eyes when they start to believe in themselves. When you watch the video below, you’ll see when the young chef begins to get that Chef Ramsey believes in her, and where she begins to believe in herself.
So, until it happens, just keep going. Keep writing, keep learning. You’ll get there. I promise.