Thursday, April 21, 2016

You shouldn't get too confident as a writer.

One of the most important things about being a writer is that you need to trust yourself and your instincts. You need to have the confidence to think that you're good at what you're doing and that there's a reason for you being a scribe.

At the same time, it's important that you don't get too confident about your talent and your abilities. If you get too arrogant or too certain about your skills, bad things might happen that might get you in a lot of trouble. 

I have thought about this lately, because recently I have had some genuinely awful writing days. I haven't been able to write material that at least in my opinion was entertaining, plausible or truthful enough.

During those days, no matter how hard I tried and no matter how many hours I spent writing and rewriting, I couldn't make things work well enough. Fixing even the simplest things turned out to be almost impossible.

So I tried to think about why this had happened and what were the likely reasons behind it. I thought about things that could have contributed to me not writing well and that could have explained why I was in rewriting hell.

It didn't take that long before I understood that the reason I had been writing bad stuff was likely because I had been too confident. I had felt too certain about myself, which led to me making mistakes that I normally wouldn't make.

The thing is that even though it's obviously a good thing to have confidence, we shouldn't ever get too confident about our abilities. Getting too cocky about our 'talents' will get us in trouble almost all the time.

Instead, we should always be aware of the kinds of mistakes that hurt us the most. Those mistakes that we're prone to make are the exact things that we should keep in mind whenever we try to write good stuff.

In my case, I probably started making mistakes because I had too much energy after getting back in shape again. I likely thought that it didn't matter whether I was mentally alert or whether I had thought about my ideas enough.

In reality though, I should have thought a lot more about what I was doing and why. I should have been less confident about writing 'awesome' material, so that things could have been a little bit easier for me.

Unfortunately, that's not what happened with my writing task last week. Instead of getting the basics right, I got too confident, screwed up big time and ended up spending way too much time before my stuff looked decent again.

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