When I wrote the post about author anxiety, I mentioned how debilitating it can be. Author anxiety quietly erodes your self-confidence. It makes you doubt yourself as an author, which can then affect how you feel about yourself in general. Or your general confidence can affect your confidence as an author. In fact, you might find that these things feed (and feed off) each other in a strange, exhausting cycle. It does for me, and in desperation one day, I wondered how things would change if I pretended to be a confident author.
And then I wondered what a confident author looked like.
After spending some time thinking about it, I realised I was basing my idea of a confident author on an author’s success. Which led to the realisation that I was defining success by factors that weren’t entirely in the author’s control. I looked at their brand, and the way their publishers marketed them. I looked at the way the writing community responded to them, and how often I saw others promoting their books. And then there was their appearances on bestselling lists, and their Amazon rankings, and their sales, and…
Is it any wonder I didn’t think I had the right to be a confident author?
This is an impossible set of criteria. Not many authors can be considered successful because of it, and certainly not new authors. And yet that doesn’t mean that these authors aren’t confident. Or that they shouldn’t be confident. We all deserve to be confident authors. It doesn’t matter if we’re published, or aspiring to be published. It doesn’t matter if we have the entire writing community behind us, or if we’re the only ones promoting our books. Our sales, our bestselling status or our rankings shouldn’t dictate how we should feel about ourselves as authors.
And rightly so.
Because our value as authors – or as people – shouldn’t be defined by factors we don’t really have control over, or by other people’s success.
If you feel like you have a story to share with the world, you should be confident in that fact. If you’re aspiring to be published, you should be proud that you know this. And that you have this goal you’re working toward it. Many people go through their lives never realising what they’d like to do with it. And if you’re published, you’ve achieved something that deserves your pride, and most of all, your confidence.
I might be simplifying things here, but perhaps, realising it is that simple is a part of the mind-shift needed. And yes, sure, we might have to pretend we’re confident at first. But ‘fake it until you make it’ has never sounded as appealing to me.
So, I’m going to try it.
And because I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, I’d like you to fake it until you make it with me, too. Own wherever you are in your journey. If you’re aspiring to be published, be confident in that fact. And don’t be ashamed to tell people that that’s your goal. If you’re published, own that you’re published. Tell people about your books. Market yourself. Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes, I am an author’. Let’s support each other in this. And perhaps someday, we won’t have to fake being confident authors anymore <3