Confidence in Writing

Writing, even in analytical forms, is a personal endeavor. It is the act of sharing one’s thoughts and implied emotions towards a specific subject. In many cases, writing also provides an open forum for others to critique and argue with one’s thought process. While this exhilarates some, it frightens (and sometimes paralyzes) others.

Internal pressure, expectations from peers and professors, deadlines, lack of experience, and/or a shaky understanding of the subject at hand can all contribute to insecurities in writing. While some of these can be easily solved through closer attention to sources and a heightened exposure to a writing process, others take more time and consideration to fix. Pressure is a common stumbling block for writers, yet is also difficult to address. Pressure takes many forms (i.e., the pressure to do one’s best, get a certain grade, or approach a subject in a certain way) and is thus hard to solve on a universal level. However, there are certain things the writer can do to lessen feelings of pressure when writing. These include:

  • Taking a deep breath and removing oneself from a writing project when tensions begin to run high (i.e., taking a walk, talking to a peer, etc.).
  • Speaking to an instructor about his/her expectations in order to get a better picture of what to focus on in one’s writing.
  • Finding a mentor or peer to discuss with. What is their writing process? How do they deal with pressure?

Other insecurities in writing can be solved in a myriad of ways, although much of it depends on the individual. Some methods include:

  • Get organized! If deadlines are an issue for you, organization can help to take the stress out of your writing process. If you plan to write far ahead from the due date, you will feel less stressed and therefore, more confident in your writing skills. Also, you might have some extra time to edit your piece!
  • Set Goals. Rather than tackling an entire paper in one go, break it up into smaller pieces to make it less daunting. Focus on trying your best for each goal you set and then take a break or reward yourself with a treat after completion. Knowing that you have successfully completed goals along the way will help to boost your writing confidence for the duration of your project.
  • Remember that a draft is only a draft. The beauty of the first draft is that that is exactly what it is—the first time you are expressing your thoughts. Remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around and you will feel less paralyzed.
  • Practice makes perfect. If writing is a daunting task for you, the only way to make it less so is to do it more often. Spend time writing each day, whether it be for personal or academic use. By going through the motions of writing, you will get used to and will begin to formulate your own writing process. 

The most important tip for building confidence in writing is to remember that there is no writing “expert. Even the most seasoned PhDs and other professionals struggle with writing and have their own insecurities in writing. You might feel like you are alone in your insecurities, but everyone experiences similar feelings at some point! The only thing that is in your power is to focus on yourself and work to create the best writing you can produce.

Works cited:

1. Hale, Ali. “Seven Ways to Build Up Your Writing Confidence.” Daily Writing Tips. Daily Writing Tips. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

2. Luke, Ali. “7 Ways to Build Your Writing Confidence – Helping Writers Become Authors.” Helping Writers Become Authors. Empower, 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.



2 thoughts on “Confidence in Writing

  1. A very relevant topic! I think this advice could also be useful in dealing with situations such as ESL tutees who may struggle with lack of confidence due to their lack of cultural and language understanding. For example, you mentioned breaking up the writing process into smaller chunks – certainly one could develop and exercise for an ESL student that involves having them write separate paragraphs and then worrying about how they will fit together later.

  2. I often find that my writing suffers when I lack confidence in my ability to produce quality work. The suggestions were very relevant, and certainly have an application in effective tutoring. I regularly make use of some of these strategies, and strive to do so to a fuller extent moving forward as a means to make the entire process of producing academic content less stress-inducing.

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