Taming the Beast of Self-Belief

There are two modern day authors who I aspire to.  JK Rowling, because she created Harry Potter (and c’mon, who hasn’t read Harry Potter and succumbed to the awesomeness that is the magic world?) and Nora Roberts, who is my biggest hero for her persistence and cleverness alone.

Now both of these women are pretty far apart on the genre scale; one wrote a young adult (if not childrens, really) fantasy series about a boy wizard who goes on adventures, while the other writes steamy, sultry romance books to the tune of two hundred novels to date since she began writing back in the late seventies/early eighties.  That’s an average of about six novels a year!  Simply incredible.

But what, in my eyes, makes both of these women special and worthy of respect is their determination and confidence.  They both started as just women with no fame or notoriety, who found themselves in a situation and decided to give writing a shot.  For JK, I believe she was riding a train and the idea of a boy going to a wizarding school popped into her mind, and so she went with it and wrote it down.  For Nora, she was stuck in her house during a blizzard with her children for days, and had nothing else to do but write.  And so she did.  And thank God, because the book she started that day would  become one of my all time favorite novels of hers, Irish Thoroughbred, with arrogant and illusive Travis Grant and the daring and bold Irish lass Adelia Cunnane (gotta love it, right?).

What I’m trying to get at here is that all authors start somewhere.  Most it seems come from very humble beginnings.  Ergo, while all of us who are just starting out are looking at these men and women and admiring their success and envying them, perhaps it would be wise to remember that there was a time when they were just people too, with hopes and dreams and no concept of just how well their ideas and books would one day sell and/or touch and inspire others.

And really, it all starts with having a little bit of self-belief.  If you can muster up just enough of the stuff, maybe, just maybe, you’ll have the courage to write down the ideas and characters and settings swirling around in your head.  And then, with a little initiative and determination, you can finish a novel.  Then maybe you’d have enough self-confidence to self-publish it, or send a manuscript off to a traditional publishing house to see what they think.  People are doing it all the time, and in growing numbers.  And I think it’s a beautiful thing.

Because if you don’t stick your neck out of the window once in awhile, you’ll never see the beauty that’s beyond the confines of the frame.  If you never risk getting your feelings hurt or having your self-esteem battered a bit by critics, you will never have the opportunity to have it grow when someone out there does actually like what you wrote.  It’s give and take in this world, and the ones who capture the success we are all hoping for are also the same people who risked it all just to have it in the first place.

Admire them, envy them, but also know that you can be them.  All you have to do is try!


If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. -Ray Bradbury

6 thoughts on “Taming the Beast of Self-Belief

  1. Indeed. A lot of people stop at the stage of thinking up a story, but they never write it because they are afraid it might not meet their expectations. They are afraid to try and fail. I’ve been there.

    Last night, I bought this small Western pulp novel, one of many I get to see at newsstands around town. After reading it and doing some research on the author, I found out that M. L. Estefania was a man who wrote for entertainment during the Spanish Civil War, giving people something to get their minds off that terrible event. He even wrote on toilet paper when he was incarcerated, simply because he couldn’t help it.

  2. Nice entry. With writing, I find the best thing is to direct your addictions. Everybody is addicted to somthing – so why not be addicted to writing. When you get to the point where you have to write out what’s in your head and heart – no matter what – then your writing will be true and nothing else will matter.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Definitely! Writing is one of the oldest and greatest creative outlets. There’s a reason so many people turn to it for entertainment, emotional release, a healthy intellectual challenge, etc. And when we write from our heart, as you said, the words are always somehow more potent and powerful, and that is the writing that connects with people. 🙂

  3. True. It takes confidence and faith in ones self to be able to step out and chase your dreams. I, too, admire people of sort. And JK rowling is one of my fav authors too, because of her determination.

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