Friday, September 25, 2009

Confidence is Attractive

Have you ever known a person who wasn't good looking but was very attractive? I've known many. I think half of my high school and college crushes were guys who would never be considered hot (and some that couldn't even pass for "okay"). But these less-than-hot boys had one thing in common--they were confident. Confidence is attractive.

I've been thinking about confidence a lot lately.

A few months ago, when I was just finishing Underground, I was talking to a neighbor and he asked what I did for fun and I told him that I was writing a novel. He seemed impressed and he asked what it was about. I brushed him off and said, "Oh, it's nothing. It's just a book for kids."

I've noticed that I use this response often when people ask me about my writing. It's a bad response. It makes the person who was kind enough to ask about my book feel put off, and it undermines my confidence in myself.

So, I'm working on it. I think if confidence can make a short, chubby, hairy guy attractive, it can do wonders for my writing. Plus, it's possible that in the months to come I'll need to promote my book and I KNOW it will be way more attractive to buyers if I am confident about it.

The truth is I'm proud of my little book. It definitely isn't the most brilliant thing ever written, but it was fun for me to write, and most of the people who've read it think it's fun to read too.

Do you struggle being confident about your writing? What are you doing to become more confident?


MeganRebekah said...

I go through this too, usually when people find out I'm writing and I have to tell them it's YA. I'm learning to be proud of my chosen genre and my book. Somedays it's easy than others, but that confidence is slowly building. I've also found that the more I talk about it and am open about it, the more conifdent I become.

** Also -- confident guys are the hottest. Hands down. I love confident (NOT cocky, just confident), smart guys. Make me melt!

Patti said...

I struggle with this when people find out I've written a book and they ask me what it's about. I'm always gauging whether they really want to know or just being polite. I'm trying to formulate a good answer to both scenarios.

I agree that confidence can make anyone more attractive.

Linda Kage said...

Wow, it feels like you just wrote a blog about me... Weird. I lack confidence everywhere, and I'm not too good about endorsing my book to people that ask me about it on the street. But I have no idea how to gain confidence. I've lacked it for way too long.

Vonna said...

For years, only my husband and son knew I was writing a book. When I completed it, I finally revealed my secret to my sister and my book club but it took a few more years (and another completed novel) before I let the rest of my family and a few friends know. Even then, I found it difficult to talk about my writing. I still do, even though I'm on my fifth novel.

Being part of two fabulous critique groups has helped my confidence a lot; I don't feel so all alone. Also, taking part in SCBWI conferences and especially volunteering at these conferences has been helpful.

Another thing that has been a big help: I've come up with one-sentence summaries for each of my novels so when someone asks what my book is about I don't have to struggle to explain.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, I struggle with confidence when NON writers ask about my writing. I kind of mumble the word... romance.
I haven't taken any steps to make that better. WAH! :(

MattDel said...

Oh the one-sentence summary of your book ... how I love it.

It's the perfect way to answer the inevitable "what's it about?" after someone finds out you're writing a book. Of course, lots of peoples' eyes glaze over when they find out I write fantasy.

Either that or they say "Oh, you mean like Lord of the Rings?" Which then means I have to resist the urge to launch into a rant about how not all fantasy is like LOTR-thank-you-very-much.

/rant :)

Holly Rutchik said...

Writing is so hard. I always feel like I am fearful non-writers are going to think I am sitting at home with a diary with a pnoy on it and holding the little keys in my hand along with my pipe dreams. I blow it off as a non thing because I assume people won't take me seriously anyways.
Thanks for this post, it reminded me I am projecting my own issues onto others and need to just hold my head up and tell people, "I'm a writer!"

Lazy Writer said...

I struggle with confidence all the time. I usually have the same response when someone asks me what my book is about: "Oh, it's just something for teenagers to read." You make a great point here. Confidence is important. Thanks for the reminder.

Beth said...

I struggle with confidence for sure. When people ask what I've been up to and I say "writing a novel", I cringe waiting for them to say "Oh? About what?". Then I have to do awkward dance between telling them nothing and having verbal diarrhea because I'm so excited about what I'm writing! :)

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm confident about a lot of things, but not my writing. There still aren't many who know I write, but I too find it difficult to sound confident in explaining what it is about. You are right. We need to practice, b/c if we are not confident in it, who is going to buy it? Our response should be, "It's a great story about ... for young adults." Or something really smart.

Jill Kemerer said...

I don't think of it as confidence as much as passion when we share what we do with others. I'm passionate about writing and I don't mind talking about it. Hopefully, I'm not obnoxious! Heh-heh! I'm so glad I found your blog!

Tabitha Bird said...

Good post Natalie. Yeah, I struggle in this area too. Now I look people in the eye and say, "I write- it's a memoir about a really difficult time period for me." If they ask more I tell them. Most people ask more. Most people are really interested because they don't know anyone else who writes. And I love talking about it. Makes me feel like a real writer :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Isn't it amazing how many writers there are trying to get published or finish a book right now, yet we never seem to meet those people in real life? Everyone I meet says "I've never met anyone that wrote a book."

That statement alone gives me a little confidence boost.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I agree about the whole confidence-makes-guys-hot phenomenon. I think I knew that short, chubby, hairy guy in college, too.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, writing. So, I think confidence-makes-writers-hot, too. Although I lack a little in that area.

Yaya' s Changing World said...

Great post! May I just suggest that I don't think we, as writers, lack confidence. Rather, its my feeling that our childhood training prevents us from 'Tooting our own horn.'
When we're asked about what we do, that horn is thrust right to the front and our first reaction is to 'Blend back into the crowd.'
I just discovered your blog, but I love the way you write. You have every reason to 'Shout from the mountain tops' about what you do.
If you were a teacher or an actress, would you be as likely to back-pedal? Without writers, would either of those professions have as much success as they do? Ours is a vitally important link in the whole chain of events... the first link. Shout out what you do! And love it loudly.
- Yaya

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Choose Confidence. Play Your Game.
I've written those notes to myself and put them in front of my keyboard. Positive reinforcement? I hope so. Can't hurt.

David said...

Trying to polish my novel and get an agent. That will make me confident, won't it? What was that Natalie? Oh.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I didn't read this yesterday because I wasn't feeling very confident and i didn't like the title. LOL

Confidence makes all the difference! Something I learned a little too late in my dating career and hope to perfect very early on in my writing career!

Great Post!