How my writing career was held back by a lack of confidence

Today, I’m going to tell you a bit about the journey I’ve been on as a writer. If you’re going through something similar, you might find it helpful to know someone who’s come out the other side.

My Journey

For almost as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. But for many years I struggled with issues of confidence. I’ve always been shy, but even more so when I was younger, so the thought of sharing my work with someone else was excruciating. To be honest, I even find it embarrassing telling you this now.

It took me a long time to dare to sign up for a writing class. I didn’t think this was a problem – surely writers just beaver away at home on their own? What did I need other people for? That’s what I thought.

You can’t go it alone

What I didn’t realise was if you don’t share your work, it’s very hard to move forward. Other people give you accountability. You need other people to test out your ideas, find out what works and what doesn’t, to get feedback and generally grow and develop as a writer. Other people publish and produce your work. As a writer, it’s tough to go it alone.

My lack of confidence slowed me down in many different ways; here are 5 of them:

  1. I hated showing anyone my work
  2. Talking about my work was just as bad
  3. I didn’t have the courage to ask for help, even from friends who worked in the industry
  4. Although I went to networking events I was too embarrassed to speak to anyone
  5. I had a mortal fear of speaking in public, so I would avoid participating in competitions and schemes where getting up on stage was a requirement.

t’s not a good idea to live with regret, but if there’s one thing I do regret, it’s letting my lack of confidence hold me back for so long.  I made progress – such as having one of my film scripts optioned, being a winner on a TV sketch writing competition and getting an agent – but it was slow progress. With more confidence, I feel sure I could have forged ahead faster.  

My breakthrough

I finally started to do something about this when I met my husband a few years ago. He’s not a writer – he’s an entrepreneur – so he’s creative in the sense that he comes up with business ideas.

While starting a business and making a film are not that dissimilar on some levels, the key difference is that entrepreneurs instinctively question how to make something profitable, which is not something that creative types tend to do. We just think – do I want to write this? Which is absolutely fine, but if you want this creative thing to be your living, surely you’ve got to think about how to actually earn money.

Over the course of many conversations with him, I slowly started to change my behaviour. I learned how to approach my contacts in a casual way, without making it a big deal. I started asking my friends and acquaintances for help – and discovered that they were delighted to.

My confidence in my writing grew. But even on days when I felt like a fraud, I sent my work out anyway. Because sometimes you have to just bite the bullet.

I even faced my fear of public speaking by going to Toastmasters, which was a bit of a life changer, by the way.

A new me

Now I’m working as a writer and it’s truly amazing. Most of my progress came about after I finally found the courage to speak to other people.

I’ve mentioned before that I have an animation series in development – this started with me summoning up the courage to reach out to people about a short film I’d written. I then went on to bring a whole team together, and eventually, at least 50 people became involved in the series I came up with – something that still blows my mind!

A couple of years into the development of my series, me and the team were awarded a big sum of development money, and this led to us pitching our series at cartoon conferences (yes, that is a thing) all over Europe.

By pitching, I mean getting up on stage in front of a room full of 100 producers, distributors and broadcasters and trying to convince them that we had an amazing series and we were an amazing team. This is something I never would have dreamt I could do just a few years ago. But it was such a thrilling experience, as was getting paid for something I love to do. But it’s especially gratifying knowing I faced my fear.

Why I became a writing coach

Because of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way, I felt a great urge to help others overcome some of the struggles that I faced, by becoming a writing coach.

I want to be the coach that I wish I’d had. I want other writers to have an easier journey than me.

As a coach, I can help with many aspects of writing – such as goal setting and accountability, by being a sounding board for an idea, tackling blocks, or helping work out your career strategy. But I can also help overcome issues of self-confidence, if that is something that you face, like I did.

How coaching works

My coaching takes place via Skype or Zoom (or phone if you prefer). Depending on the programme you choose, we will normally have a call every week or two. Through a series of questions, we explore what issues you’re facing, and I suggest strategies to help you overcome them.

Together we come up with a plan to ensure that you meet whatever goal you set. It’s usually a lot of fun – you get to work towards a long held dream, which is thrilling. You commit to setting aside time just for writing and know that you’re making it a top priority. What could be better than that?

Any questions?

If you’re intrigued by the sound of coaching, but want to know more, drop me a line and we’ll set up a brief complimentary call. I can answer any questions you may have, and we can discuss where you’re at with your writing and see if my coaching might be a good fit.

You can also find out more about my three coaching programmes on my website here, here and here.

Quick heads up, due to my own writing commitments, I’m only able to work with a limited number of clients. So don’t hang about in case I get booked up.

If you’re passionate about writing but finding it a struggle, let me know because I’d love to help you.

I’ll share more writing tips soon. If you can’t wait till then, these tips are worth checking out, if you’re looking to improve your daily writing habit.

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Katy,
    Thanks for being courageous and sharing your writing journey. It was a wonderful and inspiring read.
    I’m glad we met along the way and thanks for supporting me on my writing journey.
    Your recent advice worked by the way, and I got the gig.
    Do reach out to Katy for support and encouragement. She won’t let you down.

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