By Nikki Wilson
It’s been awhile since I’ve written on the blog. I have lots of really good excuses, I promise, but the fact of the matter is that I miss it. I miss writing about my thoughts and insecurities. Because when I write about them I gain a perspective I don’t have when I just try to live with them.
|How cool to be in the same category of ANYTHING as Sarah Eden?|
Last weekend I attended the American Night WritersAssociation’s writing conference. I’ve told you on numerous occasions how much I love this conference. Every time I go, it’s like coming home. It’s a hotel full of “my people”. Also, there is such a great spirit present at this conference and I always feel a great confirmation that I should be there and that writing is what I’m supposed to do. At the conference I always become a little less introverted and a little more extroverted. I speak without thinking as much as I normally would and I introduce myself to new people more than normal as well. While at the conference I feel great and I’m on a high (that’s purely natural, I swear!)
But then I come home and insecurity blankets all my thoughts. I think things like, I shouldn’t have said that, or maybe that person was annoyed by me but was too nice to say anything. Above all, insecurities about my writing abilities don’t just blanket me, they smother me. I think things like, I’ll never be as good as THAT person, or I’ll never be a presenter at a writer conference, I’ll always be the attendee because I’ll never learn enough to be that good. But one thing we learned at the conference this year, (Thanks to Regina Sirois) is that we can’t compare our accomplishments to the accomplishments of others. And I am trying to get better at that. And I’ve been praying for help to leave my insecurities behind and allow myself to believe in my divine potential as a daughter of God.
The other day I was feeling too sick to go to Stake Conference (I have a sinus infection an ear infection). So I stayed home and cued up a session from last General Conference. The talk that really spoke to me was by Elder Jorg Glebingat called, “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence”. I really recommend that you read it. He talks about 6 ways we can increase our spiritual confidence. I plan on printing them up and working on them each day to help dispel my personal and spiritual insecurities. But it got me thinking that a lot of the ways he says we can gain spiritual confidence are also close to the ways I can gain confidence in myself as a writer. So these are my 6 steps to writing confidence:
1. Take responsibility for my time to write. Stop blaming others or my circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuse for why I’m not writing/editing as much as I should.
2. Don’t neglect my physical well-being. I can’t just hole up in my room waiting for words to come. I need to move and exercise and take care of myself. Usually words start coming when I’m physically engaged in something even if it’s just going for a walk.
3. Embrace the thoughts and words that come into my mind. Many times I don’t write some of my thoughts because I think I will be judged by them or I’m afraid to offend someone. (This is where blog writing comes in. I tell you guys some of my biggest insecurities and you don’t judge me. Thank you for that!)
4. Become really, really good at editing thoroughly and quickly. I’m still trying to learn this one. Often I know what’s wrong with my stories, but the amount of work it takes to fix it often overwhelms me and I quit. But if I learn to accept this task as a part of my life as a writer, I will stop fearing it and soon learn to excel at it.
5. Become really, really good at forgiving myself and my deficiencies. Writing is a process that takes time. I need to be understanding of my learning process and be patient. It helps me to picture myself talking to my daughter who also writes and telling her how talented she is and to be patient with herself. I can feel how much I believe that and believe in her. Then I can try to carry those thoughts and emotions over to myself.
|Yes, those are super cool agents laughing at my agony! LOL|
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and rejection as part of my writing experience. At the ANWA conference this year they had an Antagonist Gala. I went as every book’s antagonist…rejection letters. Of course I have a good supply of those on my email. But when I went to find them I realized I hadn’t queried an agent in 5 years! Those other rejection letters had paralyzed me. I convinced myself it was because my writing wasn’t good enough yet, that’s why I hadn’t tried, but the truth is, I couldn’t get past the rejection. I didn’t want to accept the rejection as part of my experience. Because I didn’t want to experience it ever again. But that’s just not possible in this business and I need to learn to embrace the rejections as a part of the process. (I’ll have you know I thought I had, but in looking back I realized I was just kidding myself.)
These are my six steps to writing confidence. Though prayer isn't on the list, it's a given for me. If you have any other steps you think would help, please add them in the comments. I hope that by remembering these I can become a better writer and a better person.