Blog

Getting Personal: Gaining Confidence

As many of you know, I wrote in the closet for many years (read my post here.) Since getting my book contract, I've sidled out. There's no going back in. For better or worse, I'm public with my writing.

Overall, the general response from friends has been positive. Most seem genuinely excited for me. Even so, there will always be those who don't understand the writing journey, who ask difficult questions, and don't appreciate what I do.

With all of the positive responses, I have to ask myself why I still delete my email signature with links to my blog, facebook, and twitter whenever I email my non-writing friends. Am I embarrassed for them to visit my blog? Why do I want to keep the writing part of my life set apart?

I also have to ask myself why I still don't post many writing-related comments on facebook. Is it because I have many non-writing friends there and am not sure I want to expose my writing life to them?

As I anticipate the release of my book next fall, I cringe at the thought of what my non-writing friends will think. Of course I already know my writing buddies will support me, even if they can't help picking apart my book! It's the dreaded writer's curse: the ever-increasing inability to read for pleasure.

But what will my neighbors and real life friends think? Will my more philosophical friends think I've written fluff? The conservative ones think I'm too edgy? The liberal ones think I'm too stuffy?

I may have a book contract, but I still waver with self-doubts. So, my point is this: No matter where we're at on the path, we have to choose to respond with confidence in who we are as writers. Whether published or unpublished, confidence is NOT automatic. It's a mindset we must choose.

Since writing is something we're passionate about, why should we feel the need to duck our heads in timidity? I have friends who are passionate about running long distance races. And I have friends who are avid gardeners. They're proud of their passions and don't hide what they do, even if they don't win any prizes. As writers, why should we hide?

So for all of us who need a huge dose of confidence, let's believe in ourselves and announce to the world that we're writers. We should stand tall, hold our heads high, and know that in our hearts we're doing what we love.

We don't need to fumble around to try to justify why we're not published or why we spend so much free time at our keyboards. It's enough to simply say: I write because I love it.

What will you do this week to take pride in being a writer? For starters, I'm going to stop deleting my signature links in my emails! I'd love to hear how you're stepping out and sharing the news of your love of writing!

43 comments:

  1. I like hearing myself say, "I'm a writer." In response to. "What do you do?"

    Part of me listens to those words coming from my mouth and says, "Oh really?"

    Another part says, "Yes! Damn it. YES!"

    Good for you, Jody. How encouraging to know that even published (or soon to be) authors have to choose confidence :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cringe is exactly what comes to mind when I think of the response from my non- writing friends. This is a journey I don't even "get" most days.

    What I have to tell myself is that no one will feel the enthusiasm I do because it's my dream. I don't get excited about football, because I don't play!

    I am learning to feel good in my gift for the simply realization that God gave it.

    Thanks for reminding me to hold my head up Jody!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post Jody. I delete my sig lines in email to friends/family most of the time too. In my case, it has not so much to do with being shy, but not wanting to seem braggy or like I'm tooting my own horn. (Another writer's dilemma.)

    Maybe it has to do with us compartmentalizing the different areas of our lives too. Busy mom writers have to wear so many different hats and identities.

    Blogging, Twitter and other social media are great places to wear the writing cap proudly. Great practice. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a tough one for me. I just recently came out of the writing closet. I have 2 FB accounts..one for work and one for personal and I don't mention writing very much on the personal one. I always worry I'll come across as bragging. I'm trying to work on it. Great post, Jody.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amen, sista!! I so agree with you. I shudder at the following conversation:

    Nonwriter: What do you do?
    Me: I'm a teacher....I also write.
    Nonwriter: Oh yea? Wow. So where can I buy your book?
    Me: Um...well, you see, I'm not published.
    Nonwriter: Oh.
    Me: But it's really hard to get into the publishing industry. I mean, it takes the average writer at least five years...BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

    This is where I start to cringe at myself. When I start to justify to others why I'm not published. Bleck! From here on out, I am refusing to to explain myself. From here on out, this is what my conversations will look like:

    Nonwriter: What do you do?
    Me: I'm a teacher and a writer.
    Nonwriter: Oh yea? Wow. So where can I buy your book?
    Me: I'm not published yet.
    Nonwriter: Oh.
    Me: I say nothing. I just smile.

    Happy Friday!
    Katie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Every step of the writing journey challenges our confidence. One reason is because writing makes us so vulnerable. There's no soul bearing or rejection with other people's hobbies. Most non-writers (even the well-intentioned ones) don't quite get writing.

    I heard a successful author say that once you're published, the writing journey gets even harder.

    I'm praying God gives you even more confidence on this exciting, but challenging, next step in your writing adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think part of the problem is this: writing is intensely personal. For people who run long-distance races, that may be part of who they are, but it does not reflect their inner being the way writing does. I write suspense. I've had friends read some of my stuff (which is NOT edgy, btw, just suspenseful) and say, "I can't believe that comes out of your head." They look at me as if they never noticed that monster head coming out of my shoulder.

    To balance it out, I have other non-writing friends who ask about my work, are supportive of the long journey, and cheer with me every step of the way. The others will come around. They'll probably just wait until I have a published book to show before they do.

    In the meantime, let's face it--we are a little weird. You spend a lot of time dreaming about life way back in history, and I contemplate how to kill people in new and meaningful ways. *grin*

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm giving out my business cards that say, "Donna M. Kohlstrom - Writer"! Leaving them wherever I go...with a tip at a restaurant, grocery store, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You're beautiful, Jody. It's so difficult to crush the self-doubt writers have. I've been infected with a HUGE case of self-doubt all week. I don't know where it came from or why it grew from the level of self-doubt I already had, but it is what it is. I guess we all have it at some point or another, or maybe we all have a case of it lingering in our minds at all times. hmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "It's a mindset we must choose."

    Thanks for the reminder, Jody. I needed that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thinking about what I'll do. I wonder if the struggle to announce to the world our passion is b/c some people have abused self-promotion and we don't want to be like that. It's one thing to be excited about what we write and willing to promote it, but another to turn our social networks into selling machines...

    I feel confident you'll handle this with grace and skill.
    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Will my more philosophical friends think I've written fluff? The conservative ones think I'm too edgy? The liberal ones think I'm too stuffy?

    Yes, yes, yes! I think these things.

    Maybe I'll create a signature line with my blog address on it...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh no! You delete your signature? I'm glad you're going to start using it. :-)

    Hmmm, not sure what I can do this week. I guess I have to think about it.

    Now hopefully I'm going to see a writing-related post on your facebook today! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have a really hard time with this too. It's harder to be confident about being a writer with friends who've known me forever. I keep thinking I'll tell them when I get a publishing deal, but I might back down then too. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's a hard thing to do, but remembering that God's opinion of you is the only opinion that matters puts in all in perspective! :O)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Confidence is not easy to come by! I've hidden things because I'm afraid of reactions, but I'm becoming braver and less of a "scaredy cat" these days. I recently started publicly posting a blog link on Facebook each post day. Most of my friends & family don't have blogger/google accounts, but they follow and send me positive notes and comments.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on your contract, for having a gorgeous family and for opening the door of the closet! :)

    I have not plucked up the courage to put a signature on my emails at all. I have started saying I am a writer and I have an author blog, not just my scribbles and poetry ones.
    I wish you well for the future and savour every moment of public fame. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. All these comments are so encouraging. I realize that in the past I've had jobs that I am way less passionate about than writing. Administrative assistant, banker, etc. But I never hesitated to tell people that's what I do. I have a true passion for writing so I should be able to share that with the world, right? I'm going to try to work on that. To tell people that I'm a writer when they ask, and to not feel like I have to justify the fact that I'm not published yet.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I find it very easy to tell people I'm a writer. Then they ask, "Oh? What do you write?" and I draw a blank. I'll tell them I've written a book and they ask what it's about and I draw another blank. "Are you published?" "Not yet; it's quite a challenge." Argh. Why can't I just say, "I'm a writer. I have a young adult fantasy trilogy under my belt and am in the process of submitting it to agents." It's so easy in writing...

    Happy Friday!
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  20. Maybe I'll tell my mother I have a blog...maybe...

    ReplyDelete
  21. One of these days, I'll tell my family I'm writing a book, maybe when it hits the stands.

    ReplyDelete
  22. When I began writing, I realized I'd need all the encouragement I could get. I went public from the beginning, and the outpouring of support has been incredible. Sure, there's the occasional person who looks down a non-writer nose at me, but most people are fascinated and want to know more about my journey. When I sell and hold my launch party, I'll be joined by a wonderful group of people who've been there for me, and I'll get to say thanks in a BIG way. I look forward to that day--with confidence. I'm a writer, and that's OK.

    I'm glad your confidence is growing, Jody. When your book is on the shelf, I'm sure your family and friends will be thrilled for you. Getting a book published is a great accomplishment, and you'll be able to share how God was with you each step you took. What a testimony.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awesome! You know that song, "This little light of mine,"? It's the children's hymn--there's a verse about not hiding your light under a bushel. If we tell our kids not to hide their light, why would we want to?

    Writing is your light. Writing is my light. Don't hide it under a basket!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Perhaps 'coming out' as a writer is similar to evangelism. We're plagued by doubts as to the reaction if we share the gospel with someone else. And yet, when we do, we know we're being obedient, AND the response is NEVER as bad as we fear.

    Sometimes a writer's imagination can be a blessing and a curse.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I struggle with the confidence thing every day. Right now, my mom is the only one who knows about my blog. Maybe I'll share it with others in the coming week. Thanks for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Having spent many years in academic settings in which Christianity is highly unpopular, I found that coming out with an unapologetic Christian worldview in my blog was much more difficult than coming out as a writer.

    I knew some of my former acquaintances from my agnostic days would judge me harshly, should they ever stumble across my blog. To some academics, all Christians are insane, stupid, hateful, or all of the above.

    In the end, knowing that my novels might one day be published forced me to take responsibility for integrating my public identity. No more compartmentalizing, no more trying to be all things to all people.

    That's the part of the journey you're facing, and you describe it wonderfully. Thanks for helping other writers!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Jody: I am so proud of you for this decision. You are not alone in your penchant to privacy. I think many writers are private individuals. It's scary to share your art with the world. What if they trample it underfoot, like they did with Jesus?

    You are a brave lady. And WE will love your book, you betcha. We will not critique it one bit! Well, maybe a wee pinch...

    Let's see, I am such a ham, there's probably nothing I haven't already done to get my name out there, other than Twitter, and I am holding out for that as long as I can. If I can figure out how to do it, I'd like to put a link to my blog on my face book page.

    Happy Weekend!
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  28. You do that too? There's been a few times that I just plain forgot to delete it, hit send, and then cringed for hours afterward, wishing I could just retrieve that email.

    Confidence? Yes, I need a healthy dose of that--many doses, actually. I'm going to have to think on what I can do to instill confidence in myself. Thanks, Jody, for opening my eyes once again!

    ReplyDelete
  29. You're so right, Jody. Confidence is a mindset we can choose. (God help me!)

    Everyone I know pretty much knows I'm a writer. I don't always post about it on Facebook or Twitter because I'm not ONLY a writer. I'm a mom, a wife, a grammy, a sister, an intercessor, a chocolate lover...you get the idea.

    Sometimes I think our personalities can be inclined toward desiring privacy, so the switch to published author can be more difficult. When I was first published I totally freaked out. But I'm used to it now, for the most part...gaining in confidence! Now, for speaking....Aaacckk!

    ReplyDelete
  30. LOL IT took me awhile to say the words--still does with many--like I'm pretending or something--even after getting published. But it is getting easier. Glad you are stepping up and out and announcing it to the world!

    ReplyDelete
  31. What an encouraging and wonderful post Jody! I'm not published and so I guess I have hesitated to call myself a writer. But the fact is - I am a writer. I love to write. I am now a writer for Take Root and Write and am loving working with an editor. It's funny when I read the phrase you wrote "the ever-increasing inability to read for pleasure" I shook my head in agreement. I can read for pleasure, but more and more I find that writing mechanic issues jump off the page at me. When reading that statement you made, for some reason it really resonated with me that I AM a writer. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, I greatly appreciate this post and thank you for the encouragement to be more bold about my passion for writing.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my gosh, we ARE the same person, lol. I think it's our quiet, humble and introverted nature that leads us to shelter our wild dreams from our worst realities. It al boils down to acceptance.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great, insightful post. I'm glad to have found your blog, and thanks for adding me to your network. :-)

    My desire to stay "in the closet" so to speak is a fear of failure, if I'm completely honest with myself. The reason I don't want to call myself a writer, the reason I don't want people to know I'm writing a book is that niggling fear in my mind that says, "What if you never get published? What if none of the goals you're working toward are accomplished?" If I fail and I'm the only one who knew I was trying in the first place, then it will hurt less, and be less humiliating - or so says my introverted mind. Sometimes I think I know too much - I know that even if I write a great book, that's still no guarantee I'll get published.

    I've been working on "coming out" more, but I'm still cautious. I've been trying to post more about my writing on facebook (non-writing friends/family, yikes!), but am having to deal with tough questions now - "How's the novel going? Write anything worth submitting yet?" And I'm not entirely comfortable with that yet. I suppose it takes practice.

    But I did change my "hobby writer" bio on twitter to "romance writer" at the urging of my crit partner this week. Baby steps. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jody, you're working it out, post by post, already. Good for you for "coming out" and being exactly who you are. I have not really had to deal with this dilemma to the extent you have. Most people have always known me as a writer, so it's something I share freely, loud and proud. It's too big a part of who I am to do otherwise. But...there are times I keep it subdued precisely because being a writer is not ALL that I am. There are many other pieces to what makes up Roxane, too. I suspect the same is true of you, and that you are being sensitive, trying not to be overbearing about your newly-revealed passion. I suspect you are going to keep moving out of the shadows step by step, allowing the people in your life to slowly become accustomed to this new piece of you they didn't know before. But eventually, there will be absolutely no reason to hide it anymore. Just let it unfold as it ought, just as you are. I think once YOU are fully comfortable in your new skin, others will sense that and embrace the new, revised (and improved) you. :) Appreciate the post! These are real things that many writers grapple with, so you're voicing the concerns of many.

    ReplyDelete
  35. SO proud of you for starting to NOT delete your signature. I started that this summer I think, and I don't even have a contract. But I though, "You know, if I"m going to BE an author, darn it I better act like one."

    It was hard though. I still blush pink when I push send, afraid people will think I'm full of myself for including it. I still cringe when my mother announces to everyone around that her daughter is a "writer." or when someone asks, "have you published your book yet?"

    But, ya know, I'll get over it. And someday, when I AM published, I think I'll be happy that people "know" and are supportive.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Me again Jody, thank you for wanting to join my author blog, it is
    http://www.glynissmy.com

    The one you joined is my coffee break blog, you are welcome on both LOL :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. What a beautiful post! If we can't be proud of what we love, then why do we love it?

    This reminds me of a post Scott did awhile ago on The Literary Lab.

    Call Yourself A Writer

    It's so important to do this!

    ReplyDelete
  38. It's hard to believe that you would be shy about your writing. I'm glad you are stepping out all the way. I'm putting one of my stories on my blog. Even if it's not a good idea, I needed to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great post. This week I changed the About Me on my site from aspiring author to writer. Cause that's what I am and need to feel confident in that. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Jody -

    I'm open about my writing, but sometimes feel like I'm, "whistling in the dark." It's then I must remind myself that I put words on paper, I study the craft, and some of them even get published.

    My feelings don't always tell the truth about who I am and what I do. And the truth is I'm a King's kid and I write to express His love to my generation.

    Great post, Jody.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Jody,
    Your post is perfect timing for me. I was offered a volunteer position at church that would take 20 hours of my time a week(I just retired last yr after serving as the Pastor's sec. for 11 years). I said I would think and pray about the position. My wise daughter-in-law reminded me that God has called me to write and has given me the time and I should not forget that this is my first calling. If I don't value my writing call than no one else will. Thanks for this re-inforcement. By the way, I will not be taking the position.
    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yeah, Jody. Glad your heading in this direction. You should be so proud of all you've accomplished. Why should you hide it? And truly, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about what you do. Everyone will have judgments; it's what humans do. As long as we walk with integrity on our path, we can't worry about what others think.
    Thanks so much for your comments on my blog while I was in Europe. It meant a lot.
    karen

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great post, Jody. The thing that really struck me (other than the realization that I'm not the only writer who deletes the links in her email when emailing non-writer contacts... ahem...) --where was I?-- the thing that really struck me was your comment about how others are proud of their passions and don't hide them. Such a great comparison, and it really helped me look at coming out of the writing closet in a more positive, less scary, way. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!