I just listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast with designer Debbie Millman. Good Q&A about designing our lives. One of the takeaways for me was about confidence. Ms. Millman interviewed many successful people. She encountered only two who didn’t feel like impostors teetering on the precipice of defeat. The confident pair were octogenarians with long records of success. For everyone else, success is a moving target, ephemeral and slippery.
If you don’t feel successful, it’s okay. Even after you have some measure of success, chances are good you won’t feel big enough for your britches even then. On the other hand, I have run into individuals who are stunningly confident. They’re probably deluded examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. According to Wikipedia:
From my experience, the people in publishing who sound most sure of world domination are novices. They tend to look at book publishing as a lottery and they’re a little too positive they’ve got the winning ticket with their first book.
The veterans have seen more failure so they aren’t betting on one book. They tend to look at each book as a journey, an exploration and an experiment. They also tend to look back on earlier efforts with some measure of regret: the writing that could have been improved upon or marketing mistakes were committed. More experienced authors appear more laid back about whether something hits. Even as they do a lot of smart things that make a heavy ROI more likely, they’re sanguine. They keep on producing. They don’t get sucked into review rages, shame spirals, bravado or defensiveness.
As a writer, it’s nice to have confidence but it’s not necessary. Do the work and enjoy the process more. Writing is its own reward first. Turning readers into fans is a separate thing, very different from facing the page and spinning out gold ink.
Don’t worry about how much self-assuredness you possess or how little you’ve yet to earn. Confidence is a big soft pillow. It feels good until the stuffing gets knocked out of it.
~ I write science fiction, urban fantasy, apocalyptic epics and crime thrillers. Please do check out my books and podcasts on my author site, AllThatChazz.com.