Don’t doubt self-belief

Kristin Cashore, author of Graceling and Fire, has a beautiful blog over at This Is My Secret. I had intended this post to link to Kristin’s recent post about the things a writer might consider when finding someone to read their early drafts, but instead found her latest post which talks about self-doubt and self-belief. Kristin was asked to explain how she keeps faith in a manuscript even when it seems to be a total mess and her reply is one worth reading. Here’s a snippet.

‘At every moment, writing is an act of self-confidence — the sheerest, most determined, most stubborn self-belief. You CAN have faith and doubt at the same time; the most insecure writer on the planet has faith that shines just as bright as her doubt, and she deserves props for that. It might be hidden deep, she might not feel it and you might not see it, but it’s in there, or she wouldn’t be able to write.’

Reading this set off a light in my head. I’ve said before that I don’t know how to quit writing, that the thought of giving up makes me cry, but I didn’t make the connection Kristin describes; that every time I sit down and write, I’m reaffirming my belief in what I’m doing. I have a loud and carping Inner Critic and often wonder why I can’t get my Inner Fan to be as vocal. Now, I get it. Inner Fan doesn’t get my attention by screaming at me or jumping up and down; Inner Fan just holds out a hand to the chair at my desk, invites me to put fingertips to keyboard, then sits back quietly to watch, hands folded on belly, a contented, possibly smug smile in place.

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8 Comments on “Don’t doubt self-belief”

  1. bloowillbooks Says:

    I think my inner Fan is always at his greatest when I finish a manuscript. I often, at the end of a story find myself sitting with tears streaming down my face thinking ‘oh…it’s beautiful’. Or when a scene I’ve had in my head finally emerges on paper so much more poignantly or funnily than even I envisioned it. That’s when hubby finds me smiling at my screen. He asks “What’s so funny? Who are you talking to?” I reply, “No-one. I just crack me up!”

    When those things happen, that’s your inner fan. The critic can have the rest of the book. Just let the fan have those moments!

  2. uninvoked Says:

    That’s right, now that I think about it. If we really sat down and thought about the odds, what would spur us into even starting? And when you haven’t read a manuscript for sometime, and find yourself slipping into the story and loving it–how can you enjoy your work without feeling narcissistic.

    No one would write at all if it wasn’t for our inner fan.


    • Agreed. There are times when the odds get you down, when you think it’s all just a huge waste of time. If you can get over that hurdle, you’ve already decided you believe in yourself more than you doubt your ability. It’s a milestone.


  3. I love this: “Inner Fan doesn’t get my attention by screaming at me or jumping up and down; Inner Fan just holds out a hand to the chair at my desk, invites me to put fingertips to keyboard, then sits back quietly to watch, hands folded on belly, a contented, possibly smug smile in place.” What a beautiful, encouraging way to think about it! Thanks for sharing the lovely thoughts. 🙂


    • You are more than welcome. 🙂

    • peppergroyne Says:

      Totally agree … that is a beautiful description. The quiet encouragement that doesn’t stress, it just achieves. I think I would be afraid of the inner fan that jumped up and down and ‘sis-boom-bah’ed me into inaction because I had cracked from performance anxiety.


      • Well, see, that was my problem. Inner Critic’s always nattering away in one ear, always with the negative waves and talking me down, so I kinda kept expecting Inner Fan to be equally vocal and demonstrative. I don’t mind so much now that I understand Inner Fan is a mute; I just have to pay attention in a different way. 🙂


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