Wise Words for Writers: Believe in Yourself

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.–Vincent Van Gogh

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.–Author Unknown

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.–Henry Ford

You have to believe in yourself.– Sun Tzu

Different thoughts from different contexts, different cultures, different centuries, but all so true.  And notice: none of these quotes comes from the cult of self-esteem.

Did you ever wonder where all of those terrible voices on American Idol come from?  They come from the cult of self-esteem.  They are people who were told they could sing.  Mom, dad, teacher, pastor – no one wanted to “injure” their self-esteem.  That is not what I am talking about, and not what the above people were talking about.

Writers have doubts.  Any artist, musician, actor will.  But the ones who succeed – the ones who will succeed are those who say, I can, I will, I shall.  It will take learning, effort, practice, work and rework but you will never sustain the effort or survive the process if you don’t believe in yourself. 

I think it is lovely that mom, dad, teacher and pastor all say you write so well.  That may do wonders for your self-confidence, but that is not exactly what I am talking about either.  Do you have something to say?  Can you say it well?  Can you say it better?  Ask these things, and then:

Ask Vincent.  It may well be you will never attain fame in your lifetime. .  I might say it is likely.  You might also be among the less fortunate where no one ever believes in you.  But it can be worth it, if you truly believe.  Allow me to add my words to the above.  Remember, you are the only one who has to live with you.  Believing in yourself makes for better living.

Tons of people want to write and dream wistfully about being famous.  But real writers (and just about anything else) practice the way of: I can, I will, I shall.

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