What do you believe about your own capacity for creativity and your writing skills? I learned a long time ago that when you examine your beliefs, you’re often surprised by the ridiculousness of them. Beliefs often originate when we’re young. We pick them up from experience or from what others tell us. The following three myths are the most common limiting beliefs that I hear from people when they talk about their desire, and inability, to write a book. 

Myth #1 You’re Born With It Or You’re Not

When I was in high school there was a classmate named Sue. Sue was weird and she scared me a little, but she was immensely talented. She was a natural born artist. I took art classes with her and my sketches looked like a two year old’s attempt compared to her masterpieces.

I loved art classes but I struggled because I believed that you either had talent or you didn’t. And while it’s probably true that there are some genetic components to specific talents, it’s also true that you’re not born a creative person or a non-creative person.

Your environment shapes your beliefs about yourself and your creative talents. No one in my family expressed their creativity in any way. Sue’s family, on the other hand, was abundantly creative and expressed it as part of who they were. She grew up surrounded by creativity. We’re all born with creativity, it’s part of being human and an innate desire to communicate and express ourselves.

The point is, if you ever hear yourself saying or thinking, “I’m not creative,” know that it’s utter BS. You are creative and the more you express that side of yourself, the more comfortable you’ll become. You’ll strengthen your writing confidence.

Myth #2 Creative is Synonymous with Artistic

It’s really not. Einstein was tremendously creative. So was Steve Jobs. Creativity comes in many forms. Have you heard the term “Creative problem solving”? To be creative means that you’re able to use your imagination and to express original ideas. It has very little to do with skill because skills can be improved and strengthened. It has everything to do with the willingness to try and to trust your imagination.

Myth #3 Creative People are Introverts

Some are. Some aren’t. Being introverted means that you get energy from being alone, whereas extroverts get energy from being with other people. It has very little to do with creativity. And regardless of whether a person is introverted or not, they do have to be courageous. Creative people, whether they’re writers, artists, actors or film makers all need to be able to express themselves, present their ideas, and submit their work for review. That takes incredible bravery and creative confidence.

I read this lovely quote the other day. “The real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas.  That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence.

David and Tom Kelley, authors of Creative Confidence – Unleashing the Creative Potential within us All

The ultimate point is that YOU are creative. You were born with an innate ability to express yourself and to imagine new and beautiful ideas. For the writer that means story ideas, characters, and language. Cultivate the confidence to share those ideas. 

What is Creative Confidence?

Are you confident in your writing skills? Most writers will honestly answer that question with a resounding, “no.” Writing is a humbling experience that never fails to leave you feeling frustrated and elated at the same time. Whether you’ve never submitted your work anywhere, or you’ve sold thousands, all writers essentially face the same struggle. The difference between those who persevere and those who give up is what I call “Creative confidence.”

Creative confidence is courage in the face of fear. For writers and all artists there are many fears. You might fear judgment from others. You might fear that the right words just won’t come to you or that your plot or characters suck. You might fear not finishing your book or if you’re like me then you actually fear the completion of a manuscript. Creative confidence means you’re willing to take the risks. You have the willingness to…

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Have a lovely and productive writing weekend.