Let’s face it… It doesn’t matter if you’re JK Rowling or a budding high school journal writer. If you write for an audience, you’ve probably faced doubts about your craft at one point or the other in the past. The disease of poor writing confidence ails us all, and even when we think we’ve mastered it, it rears its ugly head at the most unexpected of times. Why is this so? I suspect it’s mainly due to how vulnerable writing leaves us. When we write for the public, we put things out, knowing fully well that they’ll be scrutinized by all and sundry – for grammar, structure, flow, voice, and so on. I liken written pieces to a bird released into the air. You never know how far it’ll go and whose desk it might land on. This can be potentially nerve-racking, to say the least. But that shouldn’t stop you from churning out your written pieces. You have a unique writing voice and perspective that the world needs to read, and even if you’re still learning the ropes in your craft, remember that every writer went through that phase. 

So how do you kill your doubts and start believing in yourself again before frustration causes the death knell to sound on your writing career or hobby? How do you learn to believe in yourself and write with more optimism? Sit tight. I just might have a few tips for you.

My first and best advice for those who lack confidence in their writing is quite simple: Keep writing. 

What? Were you expecting a magic confidence-boosting pill? Well, writing more is your magic pill. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but isn’t it so true? If you ever took college biology, you might have heard of the concept of atrophy of disuse. This essentially means that whenever a bodily organ or limb isn’t regularly used or exercised, it inevitably shrivels and weakens. The converse also holds true. Whatever body parts are routinely used grow bigger and stronger. Think about bodybuilders and gymnasts. Do they attain such humongous body sizes by sipping a Diet Coke and relaxing by the pool? A million times, no! 

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. Jane Yolen

athletic male near pool

Their physique is often a result of hundreds and thousands of hours at the gym lifting weights. The same goes for writing. The more you write, the better you get – and the better you feel about your writing. It’s pretty straightforward. You should write every day if you can help it. Even Stephen King, the master novelist, is said to have written for about four hours every day! 

Now let’s imagine you’ve taken my advice and are currently working hard to increase your writing rate. Kudos! You’re on track, but there’s more to do. After writing for a while, you’ll realize that it does not serve you well to live in a vacuum. The application of this is two-fold. First, you should read from others, particularly seasoned writers. In doing that, you’ll likely notice things they do so well – something that might even improve your own writing – and by extension, your confidence. Note that I’m not necessarily speaking about changing your natural voice or forcing your essay to read like other writers. You should strive to write your best in YOUR own voice (that’s important to note).

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. Charles Bukowski 

Second, seek to receive feedback on your writing. Ask trusted people to critique your work. You’ll be surprised how much valuable input people may have when they’re allowed to speak their thoughts freely and without fear of judgment. They will likely highlight some of the strengths of your work. Take this as a confidence boost. But remember that not everyone will immediately love every aspect of your writing. Don’t take it personally: remember that you have a goal. Eventually, you’ll begin to see criticism as a tool for self-improvement, as opposed to one designed to erode your confidence. 

Finally, breathe… As tough as it might be to do, try not to take yourself too seriously. Relax and realize that it’s all going to be okay. If you’re struggling with significant demotivation or writer’s block, why not drop your pen, and do something else you love – take a walk, eat a nice meal or visit friends? Chances are that you’ll come back recharged and overflowing with creative inspiration, which would, in turn, lead to more confident and joyful writing. Don’t force yourself to write when you’re clearly uninspired or demotivated. You might risk making your writing feel like a painful chore. This can be a major killer of creativity and, by extension, confidence and is the exact opposite of what you need as a writer. So take those breaks. And during those breaks, celebrate the little victories. Be grateful for how far you’ve come. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them. Be gracious to yourself and strive to become your own greatest cheerleader. 

 Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. Barbara Kingsolver  

Once you’ve done that, return to your notepad and put your ideas on paper. You should be well on your way to more pleasurable and confident writing. 

 If you’ve read this far, congrats to you. I’m sure you’ve been armed with some vital information that will do you a lot of good. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good place to start. If you’ve been following closely, I’m sure you’ve observed that most tips involve simply tweaking your overall attitude or outlook on your writing. So don’t give up, don’t be an island, and don’t forget to breathe… Keep putting out blog posts, editorials, and novellas. And remember that there’s no overnight success. But if you wake up suddenly and find that you’re the next Stephen King, don’t forget to send me an honorarium! 


This is why…

How low self-esteem lowers your creativity…

Guest post – written by Laolu Ogundele 

Next post – The Story of Harmless Bullet, October 8


  1. But what if I woke up and found myself to be Stephen King’s “It” instead?🤡

    This post belongs in my box where gold, diamonds, and pearls are.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Author

      I feel halloween is approaching us with a high speed this October 😅… I don’t want to rip anyones heart but if I must 😂 :)) just kidding😉 if seriously, I have to rewrite “It” in that case …& I shouldn’t 😅 in any case, just wake up & we deal with the rest

  2. Great advice, Ray. The keep writing and write for yourself parts are the most important. If I wake up as popular as Stephen kind I will send you a huge honorarium. 😁

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