We ALL have moments when we feel like we’re not good enough. Low self confidence, imposter syndrome, self doubt…it can all creep inside of our minds at some point. Well, I am here to tell you that you ARE good enough if you keep working at your craft and you enjoy writing.
Before we get into it, I have a free gift for you. If you are just beginning your writing career or at a loss for what to include in your writing portfolio, my guide to building a portfolio with little or no professional writing experience is exactly what you need. You’ll have a portfolio you can feel great about without even needing to be hired in order to have samples of your work! Check it out:
You doubt it
Am I good enough?
Am I experienced enough?
Do I need more practice before even getting paid?
Is this really the track I’m supposed to take in my career?
These are all very real and very common thoughts that may find their way in your mind at some point in your professional writing career, and probably more than once. But I want to talk about how you know you are doing the right thing—why you’re meant to write.
First of all, being a writer probably didn’t just pop into your mind yesterday—if you’re truly a writer, you probably have had either a natural urge to write or a natural talent to write. So that’s probably the first indicator that you’re a writer—if you have written something before.
Find something you wrote very recently—maybe something from a year ago and then something you wrote maybe five years ago. These can be any writing (a school paper, a poem, short fiction, even a personal journal entry). Notice what you may have improved upon, what stayed the same, and reflect on your mindset as you wrote these pieces. I guarantee that if writing is really a part of you and you’ve practiced writing on a fairly regular basis through the years, you will notice an improvement!
There—proof that you are constantly improving and growing as a writer. Even professional writers will never be their best. Writing is a never-ending process of learning and improving. And you’ll just have to keep writing to keep improving, so don’t stop! Commit to continuous learning and improvement.
Why write? What is your “why”? Just like everything else you do in life that’s worth it (like having a career in writing), there has to be a greater purpose. Someone who does not enjoy writing may say they write because they have to, whether it’s for work emails or work reports or other similar reasons. But what we want to look at here is why you write.
So, why do you write?
I’ll go first. My reason for writing has changed throughout the years. For a very long time (like from probably six years old through college), I wrote for therapeutic purposes only. And that’s great! Besides the writing I needed to do for school, I wrote for me—to release my emotions. Looking back, that’s probably why my writing was always improving since I was just always doing it!
But eventually, as I was exposed to more writing styles and learned about writing careers, I began to write to motivate and educate. I first found journalism and enjoyed that, but when I began blogging, I really loved that. For one of my old blogs, I wrote all about health and fitness—topics like different exercises, reasons to drink more water, healthy alternatives to certain meals, and more. I loved that.
Then, I wrote to entertain my readers. I created another blog to publish my poetry, prose, and short fiction. I absolutely loved that, and eventually it turned into blogging about my journey to writing books and teaching other writers about what I was doing as I wrote my books.
I still write today to inspire, motivate, and educate. I love hearing that my readers found value in what I write. If I can positively affect just one person per blog post, I feel very fulfilled.
So, what makes you want to write? There is no wrong answer here. Maybe you love using your words to convey a message. Maybe you feel super productive after writing something. Maybe you’re just good at it and embraced it enough to make it a career. It can literally be anything. As long as you have your “why” that makes you continue to return to writing, that’s what matters.
So now that we have confirmed we are meant to write and why we write, we have to train our minds to write judgement free.
Now, this is different from being self aware and understanding when something you wrote needs work or some kind of improvement. But try to keep it to that. Just because you wrote something you believe sounds bad (like in a first draft) doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or you’re not meant to write. Every writer will write something bad. You just have to have the will to continue writing.
This skill to not judge yourself (and it is a skill) will come in handy very often as a professional writer. Especially if you’ve never been hired as a writer before, you’ll know what I mean once you receive edits back from your client, editor, or manager with a ton of red marks. It WILL happen. I promise. But that’s ok! Being a writer requires thick skin, the motivation to keep going even when it gets tough, and the passion to keep going because there’s just no other option for you.
You may even get told that maybe writing isn’t for you (I have). Do not let those words stick with you. You’ll know if writing is meant for you, and someone who has only known you as a writer for a short period of time won’t be a good judge of that. Maybe you just need more practice, maybe you just need to write something different (like journalism vs technical writing vs fiction). No matter what stage you are in your writing career, if you want it, keep looking forward, my friend.
And keep writing.
Don’t forget my free gift to you!