Like most creatives, being a writer is a thankless profession. The market is saturated, the pay is abysmal, and your dreams are haunted by typos and the fear that your big break will coincide with a bad case of writer’s block.
Keeping your confidence high can be hard, but if you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will either. The next time you feel that confidence slump that comes with yet another rejection letter, stop, take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember these four things:
You checked your post a thousand times but you somehow missed the glaring typo which five commenters have already gleefully pointed out. It’s on a third-party site so you can’t edit it, and now the entire effect (not “affect”) has been lost forever. You’ll never work again.
Stop. People make mistakes. Yes, you should spell check. Yes, you should proofread. Yes, it looks clumsy. But it happens, it happens to everyone, and it will keep happening because we are all human beings, and human beings make errors. Besides, a well-written piece doesn’t lose all its value because of one misplaced comma.
It sucks when you pour your heart and soul into a post only to see it swiftly shot down as unusable. When this happens, comfort yourself with the reminder that no editor is infallible. Just because they didn’t like your writing doesn’t mean nobody else will. Even Harry Potter was rejected by twelve publishers.
Every time someone compliments your writing or accepts a piece from you, make a note of it. Next time you feel blue, look at your list. Remind yourself that many people do like your work, and nobody can please everyone all of the time.
Had a piece turned down? Take a bit of time to distance yourself from it, then go back and reread it. You’ll probably spot some flaws and want to make some improvements. But if you still feel that the writing is good, don’t let one rejection stop you from showing it to the world!
Submit it to different sites, or publish it on your own blog. If you’ve spent time and effort creating something beautiful, it deserves to be seen.
You wouldn’t be a writer if you didn’t think you had something worthwhile to say. Remind yourself of that when times get tough. Print out pieces you are particularly proud of and stick them around your desk as a gee up. Make proving your haters wrong a personal goal.
Being able to objectively critique your own work is an important skill, but being too negative is just as bad as being arrogant. Stay positive, and believe in yourself. Good things happen to those who have the confidence to chase them.
Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate jobs are currently available. Or, if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.
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