This week I’ve been reading Broken Music, Sting’s biography. It’s fascinating to see how a creative mind develops, the way early interactions with family and friends influence the direction the young artist will take. One phrase in particular struck me: Maybe all it takes is just one person to believe in what you are doing to give you the confidence to keep trying.
We writers often struggle with a lack of confidence – in the quality of our writing and in the possibility that anyone else will actually like what we produce. For those of us who send our writing out in the hope of it being published, each time we receive a rejection, our confidence erodes just that little bit more. That’s why it’s important for us to have someone who believes in us and in our ability, a support person who we can talk to about the ups and downs of the writing process, someone who understands us and what we’re trying to achieve.
The best choice for a writing champion is usually a fellow writer. Who else knows how difficult it is to find just the right word to describe that sinking feeling in your stomach when the dreaded envelope from the agent you queried is opened? Who else knows the buzz of escaping into another world right there on the page in front of you? If you don’t have a suitable writing buddy you might want to consider joining a local writing centre and meeting up with others like you, or searching for online writing groups.
Of course there may be someone suitable closer to home – a friend or family member who recognises your passion for writing and is standing there behind you cheering all the way. Someone who’s prepared to listen when those horrible bouts of I’m-hopeless-and-I can’t-do- this-anymore attack. Someone who’ll pour you the glass of wine, run the bath and wait while you prepare yourself for the next assault on the keyboard.
We all need that support while we struggle away at our desks. We all need someone to believe in us. And in our writing. Just as we need to believe in it ourselves. Just as the young musician Gordon Sumner found that encouragement and went on to become one of the most prolific songwriters of our time.
We won’t all be as famous (or as rich) as Sting but we can all become better writers, and maybe one day see our names in print. Especially with the right encouragement and support.
Who champions your writing?