Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are We Confident or Delusional?

Today I'm revisiting a post I did in 2009, because it's awesome. If you haven't entered my giveaway this week. Take note: I'm concerned by your lack of dedication to my blog... get therapy. ;-) 

Like all writers, I sometimes question my sanity at following this troublesome, 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 the awesome 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. Brilliant, Jenn. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. What an amazing post. Loved it. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Loved this post, thanks for sharing!

  4. This was great. I hope I fit into the confident category, but maybe I'm just delusional in thinking I do. ;)

  5. Very cool. I, of course, am confident. Because I am confident, I will eventually be rich and famous. :D

    Love the new blog design, but can you recolor the unfollowed links? Dark red on brown is hard to see.

  6. Awesome post. I especially love this one:

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

  7. Thanks everyone, and fixed the links. :)

  8. Aack, Jenn! LOVED this! And kudos to JA, too. ;)

    I was almost squealing when I saw this: "It's not about the destination. It's about the journey."

    I have that exact quote on my bulletin board in my office, worded just a tad differently: "In writing, the journey IS the destination."

    Great checklist, BTW. Always good to step back and scrutinize the way you're playing the game. Keeps our heads on straight. ;)

  9. Thanks for sharing this. It's really a nice differentiation between being unrealistic and being really grounded in the hard truths and persisting anyway.

  10. This is excellent. I'm keeping it somewhere special where I can view daily. Thank you!

  11. Can I just say I <3 your blog?
    And you know? I think that when I started writing, I was somewhat delusional, lol. (I'd thought I'd be rich and famous!! Don't tell anyone, tho! :P)