Last night we finished the second Creative Writing class through the library. For some reason, 6 of the 9 students were MIA, but the 4 of us there enjoyed a smaller setting which felt more like a writer's group than a class. We shared our writing with each other, and discussed aspects of the writing process.
One of the things we talked about was confidence. I shared that I have struggled internally with the legitimacy of writing as a profession. It always seemed like a hobby to me and not something you could make money at or sustain yourself with. It's only been in the last 2 years that I can conceive of writing as a career, because I believe in myself in a way I didn't before.
Confidence is a delicate thing. When it's high, we dream big and have the motivation to act on what we are dreaming about. When our confidence is low, it's a struggle to get going because we fear we won't succeed at what we are trying. It's so important to believe in ourselves, and fill our lives with others who will support us.
We can't always tell by looking at someone whether they believe in themselves or not. Everyone has a different background, with an old tape running in their head that sometimes needs to be placed on mute or ripped out and thrown away.
We all have the ability to make our dreams come true, but first we must increase our confidence level. Facing our fear of failure is a huge part of this process. My writing was completely liberated by Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird when she told me that my first drafts were supposed to be crappy. Her advice was to "just get writing", that I could fix the problems in later drafts, and that all first drafts are meant to be bad.
This advice removed the perfectionist handcuffs I had placed on myself, and got me writing again. Fear of failure was crippling me, but I found a way around it, and I couldn't be happier to be writing now on a regular basis. What is holding you back? What stands between you and your personal dream? It's a good question to consider because if you can find the answer, you'll be on the road to your dream, and nothing will be able to stop you.