Confidence Can Be A Fickle Thing

I'm generally a pretty self-confident guy. My older brother once called me cocky. I hope I'm not arrogant, but I do hope I'm self assured about who I am, what my weaknesses are and how to play up my strengths. But for some reason this whole writing thing makes me feel like I just showed up to the eighth grade social and asked the love of my life if she would like to dance, and suddenly realized I was naked and everyone is pointing at me and laughing.  

I know I'm a good dad. I don't need people to assure me of this because I feel it in the relationship I have with Laney. People do tell me this all the time, but it's easy to feel good about the type of parent I am when she hugs me. Or when she talks with me about boy problems. Or the way she asks me to still tuck her in at night.  

I'm pretty good at what I do for a living. I'm the highest ranking supervisor on my shift and I'm the youngest out of the three of us. I'm decisive at work, and, based on my evaluations I feel like I'm doing a good job. I've been given a lot of responsibility and I get positive feedback from my boss and from the guys under me.

I have some pretty great personal relationships with my friends and family. I have friends that I'm still in regular contact with that I met in grade school. My family isn't as close as some, but I think we would all agree it's at a pretty good place for who we are. I call my mom and dad once a week, (ok maybe once every week and a half) but I'm grateful for the relationship we have. And, I think they are as well.

According to Christina, I'm a pretty amazing boyfriend. She tells me this all the time, but I feel good about who I am when I race home to make her morning coffee. Or how when we are holding hands and she looks over at me and cocks her head to the side and just smiles. I enjoy making her feel as beautiful as I think she is, I hope I'm doing a good job at that.

But the writing thing, I just can't seem to grab that same type of confidence. And the thing that scares me about that, I'm afraid I need it to succeed.

The other night Christina and I went to a co-worker/friend of mines birthday party at a restaurant. We got seated with Ms. Harriet, the coroner I wrote about a few posts ago and about five of her friends. All older women about her age. Ms. Harriet introduces me to the group as the man that, "wrote that book I was telling y'all about!" They started peppering me with questions about the book. Ms. Harriet was pushing them along, Christina was smiling, and I felt like I was going to blush. I had the potential to sell at least a few books.

Like I usually do, I folded faster than a collapsible stroller.

I've thought a lot about that again. When I started this blog that seemed to be a theme in my earlier posts, but I haven't felt that way in a while. When I started thinking about that, I realized I haven't had people asking about my book in a while. I think the last person to read it was Ms. Harriet. I haven't sold any since October.

All that being said, I still should be proud of my book and able to push, sell, and talk about it. I'm a published author. I had over four hundred page views on this site in October. I've had plenty of friends tell me how much they enjoyed my writing.

And I know I can write a book. I can propel a reader onto the next chapter. (one of my strengths in my opinion) I can come up with good characters and a somewhat original story. I can make it somewhat grammatically correct.

What I don't understand is why I'm not confident in my writing.

And I love to write. Aside from any of my relationships with my family, friends, and girlfriend, nothing makes me happier. If I could, I would sit here typing away, coming up with story after story, getting lost in the characters and the sub-plots. Nothing would make me happier.

I've dwelled over this for like the last eight or ten hours. Just before I sat down to write this post part of it hit me. I'm almost done editing my next book and getting ready to send it out to friends. I'm planning on drafting a query letter and querying agents again. And that's what I'm afraid of. The publishing business is changing so much right now, I'm afraid If I send out fifty query letters, I'm going to get fifty rejections. That's a long process, and it just kind of sucks. I'll spend hours drafting the query, and I've already spent days writing the book. I'll get two minutes from an agent who spends eleven seconds typing back, "Thanks, this isn't for me"

But I don't think that is all of my problem. It's not fun getting rejected. Who Is Olivia Green was rejected by every agent I sent it to. And probably ten independent publishers. But I go into the process with an honest idea of how hard it is.

And it's not that I haven't practiced my writing. I work on it all the time. I read my stuff and sometimes really like it. I wrote an 110,000 word novel about the North American Power Grid going down and how the neighborhood I live in coped with that. And I did that for fun.

So, where does that leave me?  

I can't seem to pin down where my lack of confidence in my writing comes from. I just know that it isn't like the rest of who I am. 

And I wonder how that affects my chances for success as a writer.

Then, maybe, I need to change my definition of writing success, but that is a post for another day.

I may not be confident in my writing all the time, but I am confident I'm going to keep writing.

I love doing it too damn much.