A Life-Changing Mantra for the Unconfident Writer

Are you one of those writers who panics about not being good enough?

I’m betting you are. I mean, there’s like an 80% chance that you are. Unless you’re not a writer and are just here for the awesome logo (LOOK CLOSER) and witty repartee, in which case, well, hi, I guess.

But back to the 80% – I know you. I’ve met many people like you. The lack of confidence – lack of belief in your own abilities.

Well, listen. There’s something I want you to remember. It’s very important, so consider getting it tattooed onto your wrist. Or perhaps on your face in reverse. Print it off and pin it above your desk. Make it your phone’s background. Whatever. Just put it somewhere you will see if every day so you don’t forget. Are you ready? Here it is:

Most people can’t write for shit.

Truly, most people are terrible writers. I was just chatting with someone who took my freelance writing course – someone who’s a really good writer – and he’s worried he’s not good enough to find better clients. But he definitely, definitely is – all he needs to do is try and keep trying until he finds them (this is key, btw – you can’t just expect people to recognise your magnificence and appear in front of you with thousands of pounds of work). His sister, on the other hand, as he has just informed me, believes there should be a space before exclamation and question marks. Like this ! Can you believe it ?

There are people out there who don’t know how basic punctuation works, let alone the difference between a colon and semicolon and a fucking comma. A comma! Imagine. There are people who don’t know which words you’re supposed to capitalise and when. And let’s not even talk about how to turn a damn fine phrase.

Now I know what you’re thinking: but if there are so many terrible writers out there, maybe I’m one of them? Well, yes, maybe you are. Not gonna lie. I mean, I don’t know who you are, so I can’t really say. There’s a chance you’re just deluding yourself with this whole writing thing. BUT! On the other hand, in my experience the ones who worry the most about being good enough are often the best writers. And you know why? Because they care. They actually give a shit about whether their writing is good or not. And that matters.