Saturday, March 14, 2009

Are We Confident or Delusional?

Like all writers, I sometimes question my sanity at following this troublesome, tiresome, grueling, frustrating, disheartenting... and yet somehow still amazingly fantastic career. As though in response to this question, I found the most amazing blog post this week. It was by author JA Konrath on his Newbie Guide to Publishing blog. It was about the difference between confident writers and delusional writers. He was kind enough to give me permission to post it. (Thanks Joe!) So, without further ado...

Confident or Delusional

Kissinger was wrong. Power isn't the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Confidence is.

Confident people attract others. They get things done, spending more time doing and less time worrying. Confidence fosters charisma, inspires allegiance, and demands attention.

All writers need to be confident. We must believe our work is worthy, that our efforts aren't in vain.

But what are the differences between confidence, and its ugly step-sister, delusion?

Confident writers know they'll be published, if they keep at it.
Delusion writers think they'll be rich and famous.

Confident writers work to get the words right.
Delusional writers think they got the words right the first time.

Confident writers expect to be periodically rejected.
Delusional writers are shocked every time someone fails to recognize their brilliance.

Confident writers take suggestion.
Delusional writers believe their words are written in stone.

Confident writers work even when it's hard.
Delusional writers believe they need to be inspired first.

Confident writers know this is a job.
Delusional writers think this is a vacation.

Confident writers know there's a never-ending learning curve.
Delusional writers believe they've learned all they need to know.

Confident writers know when to move on, and learn from their failures and successes.
Delusional writers keep doing the same things, over and over, hoping for different outcomes.

Confident writers know luck plays a big part.
Delusional writers think there's a conspiracy against them.

Confident writers get published.
Delusion writers don't get published very often, and if they do it's not for very long.

Confident writers work within the system, even though the system is flawed.
Delusional writers work outside of the system, even though they long to work within the system.

Confident writers understand their limitations.
Delusional writers don't believe in limitations.

Confident writers understand sacrifice.
Delusional writers demand everything on their terms.

Confident writers believe in persistence.
Delusional writers believe in talent.

Confident writers believe they owe the world.
Delusional writers believe the world owes them.

Are you confident or delusional?

Chances are high the delusional people will believe they're confident, since self-awareness is in short supply in the writing community.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Have you been published by an impartial third party?

Confident writers eventually get traditionally published. Period.

Do you seek out and apply editing advice?

Confident writers know their words can always be made stronger.

At what point do you abandon a project and begin a new one?

Confident writers move on, but first they try to figure out what didn't work, and why.

Would you rather be paid or be praised?

Confident writers know the best form of praise is a royalty check.

Do you help other writers?

Confident writers know it's about what you put in, not what you get out.

Do you understand your failures?

Confident writers don't have failures. They have learning experiences that make them stronger.

Will you be successful?

Confident writers know success is beyond their control. But they keep writing anyway, and will continue to even if success never happens.

It's not about the destination. It's about the journey.

You must believe in yourself.

But first you have to prove yourself worthy of that belief.


  1. That was great! Thanks for posting. I'm feeling confident. :)

  2. LOL! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! That's so awesome he let you post it! Thanks for sharing! Jenni

  3. I did read this on his blog, but it's always a good reminder. :)

  4. Angie - I know! I love reading this, it totally makes me feel better about where I'm going.

    Jenni - I know, he's a really nice guy.

    Amy - Happy to see other followers of his blog. He is really very cool :)

  5. I really liked that! Thanks so much for posting it! It's just what I needed to hear.

  6. What a fantastic, uplifting post! Thank you for sharing. I can see your enthusiasm and love for writing.

  7. And thank you to JA Konrath for such great thoughts and wisdom!

  8. My high school seniors were just discussing this very topic with me yesterday and how being confident has helped them to get places that some of their peers have not gotten.

  9. I have had the EXACT same feelings. Am I crazy for toiling so much on this manuscript that may never see the light of day? It sometimes feels that way.

    Great list - JA Konrath always has such inspiring, honest blog posts.

  10. great wisdom - thanks for re-posting!

  11. Nikki - I'm so glad you liked it!

    Lady Glamis - Thank you! I really do love it and this post just proved to me that I'm not crazy for feeling that way.

    Debbie - Good point, this definitely applies to other areas than writing!

    Melissa - I think so many of us are on the same page.

    Alex - Thanks for stopping by, I hope it helped you! :)

  12. I like the picture choice of the straight jacket because Joe's description of a delusional writer sounds just like a mental disease. Hmmm. DWD? Delusional Writer Disorder??

  13. Jessie - Haha! Yeah... I thought that was fitting as well. :)

  14. I loved this post! SOOooo very true! I like to think I'm a confident writer--does that make me delusional saying it??lol But have met many writers who think the other way and changing their minds is tought! thank you for sharing this!

  15. I needed this today! Thanks!

  16. I so hope I'm on the confident side of writing. There's no doubt in my mind that you are. You find the BEST writing advice. It think it must be because you are always seeking growth. Thanks for sharing this. I loved it!

  17. Terri Tiffany - just ask yourself the questions at the bottom. Do you seek out and apply edits? Do you help other writers? I personally think you do, so I'm thinking confident for you :D

    Anita - You are so welcome, I'm happy I could help!

    Candi - You have to be on the confident side, after all one of the requirements is that you help other writers. You have helped my writing already by leaps and bounds. That puts you firmly in confident from the way I see things. I do seek growth and I understand that I have a long way to go... but I think we'll all get there together. :) I'm just so glad the advice I stumble across helps people!

  18. What a great post! Thanks for sharing. Nice to know I'm not entirely delusional. Still working on being confident. I see we have a lot of friends in common. I'm thinking we should be friends as well.

  19. lotusgirl - Thanks so much for coming by! Yep, definitely. As of right now, I declare us friends! :D

  20. This completely rocks. Turns out I'm not as delusional as I thought I was.

    (I was getting worried there for a minute)

  21. Big Plain V - I'm so happy to hear you are on the less delusional side. I generally prefer that from the people who comment. Otherwise they have all these arguments with themselves... it just gets dirty. :P Oh and also, welcome! :)