Just a quick reminder that there’s only a few days left in my signed book giveaway! Join my exclusive community on Patreon and be entered to win a signed copy of Soul Forgotten, my first novel. Cancel at any time!
Every creator at some point has been surrounded by doubts. We all face a moment in time where our confidence is lacking. Hell, even the most experienced artists lack confidence sometimes.
It’s scary to put your heart and soul into a creative piece and not know what the reaction is going to be. But how can we get past that initial fear and share our work with the world? How can we build confidence as a creator and express ourselves?
These tips helped me build the confidence to keep writing. Without it, I wouldn’t have two published books, one in the editing process, and three in the first draft stage. I also wouldn’t have two other creative projects working in the background with my podcast and Patreon.
Practice out loud
I get that this first tip is basically telling you “if you’re afraid to publish, just publish”. But that’s the truth. The more you practice, the better you get. The more you practice in the public sphere, the better you get at handling feedback. When you practice out loud, not only are you building your confidence by creating often, you’re also testing the waters for your work. Most people in the creative community are extremely supportive. It’s not about competition; it’s about supporting other artists. If you get solid feedback, you can take that back to your work and apply it. The best part is that you don’t have to listen to anything. If someone makes a suggestion (or an opinion) that doesn’t feel like the right change to you, you don’t have to change it.
If you’re hesitant at first, consider publishing your creations with a pen name. Start with a blog to practice writing. Create an Instagram account to share your art or makings and go by a different name. As you develop and practice, move to a place where you can own that work.
My first writing practice was under Minimalist Endeavors. Once I gained some momentum, I transferred my content over to The Winter Writer. It’s an awesome tag but now that I’ve found a better space and niche to deliver value (and because I have two novels tied to it), I have started publishing other things under my own name.
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
When you first start your creative project or you’re lacking confidence, look to others. Emulate the work you love, but also go beyond. Instead of just copying their work, steal their ideas and make it your own.
Read or look at other people’s work. The more you take in, the more you feel the influence. Take parts of one artist and parts of another and bring their work together in yours. Practice these things out loud and build confidence in your ability to make something new.
Some of the most experienced creators are still humble enough to say that their favorite advice, the advice they still follow, is some of the most basic. Understand the craft of your work so you have a strong foundation to go back to. The more you build this into your creation, the more your confidence will blossom.
Create other things
Think back to the very first time you discovered your creative project. Remember how exciting it was to just start painting, typing, scribbling… There was no pressure, it was just fun.
When was the last time you felt like that? If you feel it in your current endeavor, you’re probably feeling that confidence. But sometimes we need to reconnect with our inner imperfections and newness of a creative hobby.
Create other things. Take a step away from your current creation and move to a different medium. Practice journaling if you’re a painter. Do a puzzle if you’ve been looking at words all day. Go find something in the great outdoors to help you get out of your creative den.
When you explore other projects, you explore new strategies of thinking, feeling, and doing. You practice something new and unlock those joyful experiences you felt when you first started your creative project. You don’t have to be good at this other creative endeavor. In fact, you never have to be good at it. Just practicing something else and giving your mind a break will help you look at your current project with new eyes.
When you’re creating, just create
Nothing gives me more confidence than knowing I sat down and wrote an article or chapter without distractions. I never have to worry if the piece is connected after I took a break in the middle of an action scene to look at Twitter. When I’m focused on writing, I’m just writing. I don’t let other things pull me away.
When you know that you’ve put your heart and soul into your work, you can have confidence in it. Maybe you’re still worried about putting it in the real world but how would you feel if you wrote an article and knew that you didn’t give it everything you had? What if you knew that your art was started and stopped several times with distractions and wasn’t the best thing you could do?
Confidence is knowing that you were fully present in what you were doing. Lack of confidence is knowing you could have done better or put more into it. Your work will never be ‘perfect’ in your eyes (we are our harshest critic) but you can find confidence in knowing you made it.
Find support and feedback
Sometimes we get input that is the exact opposite of what we want to hear. It’s important to understand the difference between constructive critiques and opinion. One person’s comment ‘I don’t like this’ is an opinion. You can’t control whether one person likes your work, and if they don’t, the work wasn’t meant for them. Constructive critiques on the other hand are good feedback. It gives you something to improve upon. ‘I notice that this scene has a perspective change’ is good feedback.
We all want our work to be flawless but the reality is there will always be something that ‘could have been better’. I still find little issues with my first published novel (and my second) but I created a book out of nothing so I am willing to accept that I am human and I make mistakes.
A couple years ago, that realization would have left me crippled with no confidence. But I found a great support system (both online and in person). I found people who will tell me the truth (constructive critiques) rather than just opinion (‘this is great!’ ‘this is terrible!’). It helped me develop my craft, practice out loud, focus on my work, and start other creative projects as an escape.
So, continue practicing your work. Find a good feedback loop from a group of like-minded creators who build you up rather than tear you down. Study your work and the work of others to help build your confidence in your skill. Grow as an artist and understand that who you are today is just a bit better than the day before. We are constantly growing and our skills and creative craft will adapt and change with us. Be human and show us your beautiful, imperfect work. You deserve it.
I’ve used these tips to build confidence enough to launch a Patreon along with sharing my other creative works. You can help support this writing and my novels by joining me and my community. Right now I’m releasing my first novel, Soul Forgotten, for free so you can read along. Become a patron for some fun benefits like podcasts, videos, and other free books.