Charlie Laidlaw is an author and tutor at Creating Writers
In writing a book, confidence is just as important as inspiration. It’s the confidence to write something, because writing is such a private endeavour.
It’s the confidence to write, knowing also that your words may be read by other people.
That means having the confidence to be judged, because not everybody is going to like what you write.
In other words, writing a book requires the confidence to step outside your comfort zone and do something new.
My advice is to have the confidence to write badly. Good writing is about practice, so don’t be afraid to start badly and get better.
But writing is also about editing, and you can’t edit what you haven’t written. So have the confidence to just get started.
Ultimately, it’s about self-belief. It’s about you, the writer, knowing that you can write, but knowing also that you can improve. Being self-critical is an important facet of building self-belief.
One bit of advice when you start your writing journey is to think like a photographer. The best photographs don’t usually come about by accident.
The photographer has to decide if a wide-angle shot works best. Or a close-up that shows emotion on someone’s face. More than anything, a good photograph says something.
It might communicate the senselessness of war, or the triumph of the human spirit. A good photograph has the power to move us, to make us think.
Take, for example, the aftermath of a natural disaster. One photographer might choose an aerial shot of destroyed buildings. That would communicate the scale of the damage and the power of nature.
Another photographer might take a photo of one exhausted person’s face – a photograph that sums up the community’s agony.
As a writer, you too have to decide when to zoom in and when to stand back and take a wider perspective. It’s striking a balance between intimacy and objectivity.
That means knowing your story but, more than that, you have to know why you’re writing it.
Finding that focus, or angle, is important in a novel. Readers want to know why they should be reading your book. What will they learn? How will they be entertained? To keep them reading, your reader should be made to feel reassured that you knew why you wrote it.
A good photographer instinctively knows the best angle, and when to zoom in. A writer has to do the same. From the outset, therefore, think like a photographer.
That will also help boost confidence.
In a later blog, I’ll expand on that because it’s an important skill to learn from the start of your writing journey.
However, if you’d like to learn the tools of the trade much faster, and give your confidence a real boost, why not speak to us.
Creating Writers has two creative writing courses, an introductory course and our flagship Diploma course – with a real qualification at the end of it.
They’re intended to give you the confidence and skills to understand what makes great writing.
Both courses are online, but with lots of Skype face-to-face tuition. While there are set modules to complete, we also tailor the course around you and your aspirations.
We also don’t set deadlines for completing the course. We know you may have other commitments.
For more information, you can contact us here.
Photo by RetroSupply on Unsplash