the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Self belief and Writing

on February 12, 2023

I volunteer with the Women Writers Network and help to bring attention to women writers by managing the Twitter account for one week every couple of months. (It’s worth following the Twitter account where a writerly tweetchat is held on the third Thursday of each month at 6pm GMT. The next topic is Women Writers as Observers on 16 February 2023.) In order to engage with readers and writers, I frequently pose questions to develop connections and on one occasion came up with the following: how important is self-belief to writers? It was clear from the tweets that came back, many women writers think self-belief is highly important or even crucial to a writer. How else do writers develop the stamina and commitment to bring a project to its conclusion? The suggestion took me by surprise. Belief in the work had always been at the top of my list ­– the feeling that my stories are important and I’m the only one who came write them. But, I was forced to reflect. If self-belief is necessary for a writer, how do I get some?

Photo: Unsplash

At the time I began wrestling with questions over self-belief, I was also researching business women to flesh out a character I wanted for a story. From an advertisement on social media, I came across Cait Scudder, who according to her Instagram profile is a Multi-7 Fig Business Mentor, Entrepreneur. She sounded like just the sort of person to draw from in order to populate my story. Yet, as I began to learn more about her, I bought into her philosophy for supporting business women and think her approaches have helped me to generate self-belief as a writer. Here are a few of her takeaways:

  • get yourself in a room with other people who are slightly ahead of you on their journey and draw from their energy and success. This is where a carefully selected writing group can play an important role.
  • Attune with the inner power of your creative energy to move forward with your next project. Could this relate to embodying our characters and settings?
  • Letters after your name, quantity of sales, number of five-star reviews are not important. It’s developing a sense of self that will power your writing.

If these ideas chime with you, here are some ideas (drawn from Cait’s advice) on developing creative energy:

  • Focus on the quality of your enquiry
  • Tune into your desire for impact
  • Excavate your inner depths
  • Surrender to life experiences
  • Harness unacknowledged truths

Of course, it isn’t easy to do any of the above alone, and that’s why Cait works as a business mentor to others. But she does offer some useful questions for self-reflection which can help us as writers:

  • Who am I here to serve?
  • How do I want to serve?
  • What is my purpose?
  • What is wanting to emerge?

During the time I’ve been processing these ideas, it has occurred to me that the benefits of improved self-belief can help draw others to me. There’s something magnetising about a woman who exudes her power – this may be the reason I keep returning to Cait’s account – and not simply for research purposes. Wouldn’t it be great to turn the whole publishing conundrum on its head? Rather than chasing publishing opportunities – is it possible to draw attention to ourselves by promoting who we are and sharing the power of our stories?

This piece featured on Deanna Jackson’s blog on 3 February 2023.

8 responses to “Self belief and Writing

  1. That’s an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing. I’ve always tried to focus on the quality of my writing rather than worrying about the number of followers.

  2. Thanks, Gail. I think self-belief is critical to staying the course as a writer when the inevitable rejections come pouring in. It’s very hard to stay at your desk with self-doubt racing in the head.
    But cultivating self-belief is very difficult. I think the starting point is realising that you are not alone in worrying that you are wasting your time attempting a novel or submitting a story – we all suffer from that most of the time!
    For me talking to other writers, in real life or online, is vital to lessen the constant doubts.

  3. Jim Bates says:

    Hi Gail! This is wonderful information. Thank you so much for sharing it 🙂

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