I am a writer (not an aspiring writer, because I actually do write---I am an aspiring author, though lol). I find myself struggling from time to time, like all writers, with confidence. Sometimes I write something and I think it's great. Other times I write something and have to stifle my vomit. :)
I think a lot of the confidence issues in writing stem from the amount of rejection we deal with as writers. No, I'm not talking about using "I'm a writer" as a pickup line at the bar. Although that would probably yield a lot of rejection as well. We deal with agents, editors, critique groups and even family (yikes!) that will point out the flaws in our work. While we need those pointers, sometimes they weigh in heavily when we're staring at a blank page.
How do you as a writer overcome your doubts about your writing?
I just write. I started writing for myself, and even though I'm published now and do have to consider publishers', reviewers', and readers' opinions, I still write for myself first. So if I start doubting myself, I just remind myself that I need to get the words on the page and get on with it.
Then I do a heck of a lot of polishing before anyone else sees it.
I have a little sister, and I made the mistake of letting her read some of my book before I edited out all the crap. She made fun of me for it, but at least she let me know what I needed to work on. So if someone gives you a hard time, just think of it as a good thing; turn it into a compliment. And when you're staring at a blank page trying to sort through your doubts, don't think of them. Just forget about the criticism unless it's constructive! :)
I just view everything as a stage. Sometimes you have to get everything out before you can turn it into something polished. There's nothing wrong with an early stage work - it just means that you have more stages to complete, and that's fine. I have too many friends that only write one draft, let people read it, and get extremely offended that it's not amazing right off the bat when they should be seeking critiques to advance the piece to the next stage because that's the point of a first draft. To me, the ideas, the characters, and the story - if they really speak to me, they will probably speak to others, too, but I just need to find a better way to convey them to their audience. I have no problem admitting that sometimes I won't convey what I intend, and that just means I need to work on it more.
Does it take work? Yes. Does it take some amount of humility? As hard as it is, yes. Is it worth it? For me, it is, but that's something only you can answer.
As far as rejection goes, I can either jump into a new stage of editing, or realize that the piece is probably not what they are looking for and submit it elsewhere. I have a pretty strict editing process, but it can also include taking it to a writing conference, getting more critiques, or completely reevaluating how I am telling the story. I tackle hard questions and make myself deal with them, both by looking at the big picture issues like major plot points and character depth, but also by finer details like word choice and sentence construction. One thing that has really helped me is to read other authors of a similar style and look at how they move action along, how they do dialogue, how they describe things, and how they pace the storyline.
I just write and write. I also talk out the details with my friends (i'm sure they are getting tired of it!) to see what they think. I have issues with confidence too so I know it isn't any fun to deal with and with writing there is a lot of different forms of rejection. I have a tendency of working too hard in a story. I think at the end we have to trust our works :)
When I'm feeling bummed out about my writing, I remind myself that:
-Poor writing is not a reflection of my literary worth or abilities, it's a reflection of my current skills. I simply need more practice. Writing exercises your mind the way your body needs exercise; you can't win the Ironman if you train for a month beforehand.
-The magic happens in the edits. That's where you rewind the tape and see where you went wrong, figure out where your technique needs work and your routine addressed.
-If you don't continue to write, you won't pen that brilliant story that's lurking just below the surface of your consciousness.
We can't let our insecurities get us down or we'll never succeed. My favorite quote is from Thomas Edison: "Sticking to it is the genius. I've failed my way to success!"
I guess everyone doubts themselves when making decisions of any kind. We dither over which car to buy, when to get that new computer, who to trust and most definitely if that WIP is good enough to send out. There's lots of angst over all these kinds of things.
Lately, I've come to let that inner editor have more to sway. If my initial gut reaction is negative, I either shred the writing or edit the heck out of it. I'd didn't use to listen that carefully to my first thoughts about a lot of things, but after reading Blink I've let my instincts have more authority over me; they're darned good guides and help me avoid those nagging doubts.
A book by psychologist, Malcolm Gladwell. He also wrote Tipping Point. Basically, he writes about how the brain works to make decision--how we think without thinking!
Oh wow that's cool.