Between Humility and Confidence

Writing is a wonderful hobby. It’s inexpensive, very portable, and it’s a skill we practice in our everyday lives. But then when writing became something more, it became a passion, something I wanted to really practice and refine. That meant making a profession of it. And a dream was born.

Aspiring to be a professional author requires a complex balance. It takes confidence to believe that your writing is worth sharing with the world, and it takes humility to accept when the world doesn’t quite agree.

I want to write, I love writing, and I wish that I could just write without regard for what the world thinks, but the reality is that even though I recognize the importance of a day job, I can’t help but wish I could spend that time working on my writing. There is so much to do, so many things I want to learn and understand, and stories are how I do that.

Sometimes humility turns into doubt, “Who am I to presume that I have something worth saying?” Sometimes confidence turns into arrogance, “I should be ‘there’. ‘That’ should be me.” And that’s when I remember all the stories I’ve read, of other people feeling this way. Sometimes people share them openly as stories about themselves, other times it’s through fiction; Kvothe struggling to learn Naming in Kingkiller Chronicles, or Sazed’s personal struggles in the Mistborn trilogy. I see myself in them, and it helps to see myself in those I admire, to know that the writers we admire suffer the same pangs of doubt and frustration that I do, and it gives me hope that maybe that’s not all we have in common.

4 thoughts on “Between Humility and Confidence

  1. Yes, I understand. But all we can do is keep writing, keep telling the truth (as Stephen King says). Most of us have to finance our own writing careers, but that doesn’t make us any less ” a writer”. Do what you love. Follow your bliss. Read the inspirational words of those who’ve gone before and walk beside you now. I love Stephen King because he’s fought his demons and survived. He’s not afraid; or if he is, it’s never apparent. He says exactly what he wants to say. I admire that. I aspire to that. Blessings to you, Adam.

  2. And sometimes it’s necessary to put writing on the back burner for a while when life demands our attention. But that doesn’t mean we’re any less as writers. It simply means that we’re in a raw material collection mode, living so that we can be better writers. Most people are not “real” writers and therefore don’t understand that living life is our way of collection raw material for our stories. Hobby? No. Not if it’s a passion and crankiness takes over when we can’t write for a while!

    • There are definitely times where I’m out socializing, and someone says a certain phrase, and I stop to write it down for later. Everything doubles as research.

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