Why you need self-belief – Anna Bell

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By Anna Bell

My best piece of writing advice is keep your believing in yourself. You must have thought at some point that you were capable of writing a book and possessed some kind of talent or you would never have bothered to try. I know that you hate your manuscript and you probably think it is rubbish (it probably is rubbish), but hold on to that belief that you will edit it into a masterpiece.♥

Writing is hard. Some days words come easily and they seem to sing from the page like poetry. Other days it is like pulling teeth and all that appears on the screen is gobblydegook, destined for the chopping room floor during the next edit. But the only way to keep going is to believe.

I always decree my work in progress as the worst thing I’ve ever written. The first draft is often abysmal with major plot holes, characters that I’ve added in half way through, and events that happen out of order. Yet after I’ve edited, re-edited, read it and then edited it some more it suddenly becomes the best thing I’ve ever written.

It’s so easy to give up on a manuscript when you think it’s awful, but you can usually resurrect them by editing and polishing. After my first novel I tried to write three others and abandoned them at twenty thousand words, fearing they were awful. I’ve since learned that I work best on a second draft. My first draft is about place-holding and making sure I have a beginning, middle and end. The only thing that gets me through the first draft is a belief that the first edit will transform it.

When I wrote my first novel, I was really proud and thought it was pretty good, and I remember telling a work colleague that I was going to get it published. He was really pessimistic and told me how difficult it would be. But I ignored him. I believed that I’d one day see my book on a shelf. So I started reviewing books. I started writing a column on a women’s fiction website. I wrote and podcasted a novel. I then self-published that novel. I then went on to self-publish two more and when the third sold 11,000 copies in three months and got into the top 100 Amazon chart I got my agent and publisher.

Yes a dream is a dream. But with belief and hard work those dreams can come true. But without belief it’s very unlikely you’ll make it. If you don’t believe in your work why would anyone else? So for all those aspiring authors, I say think back to why you started writing and why you thought you could make it, and channel that belief to make it happen!

Anna Bell currently writes the weekly column ‘The Secret Dreamworld of An Aspiring Author’ for Novelicious. She is a full-time writer and loves nothing more than going for walks with her husband, two young children and Labrador.


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