A Crisis of Confidence

Who hasn’t had a collapse of confidence? Just at that moment that you need your flirty, witty self, she disappears and leaves you a stuttering, sweating blob. Or maybe you lose your confidence when it comes to taking risks: like applying for a dream job or going on that blind date. Why are we never as spectacular in public as we are in private?

Although I have never had sex with an NHL player, I do have a lot in common with the heroines of my books. We all enjoy hockey, own cats and live in beautiful Vancouver. And we all have confidence in many areas, but not all. Like Frankie Taylor, who feels confident at school, in the kitchen, and when fully-dressed in a swishy fifties frock. But getting naked in a brightly-lit room worries her. Or like Kelly Tanaka, from my upcoming book, who feels completely confident in any athletic situation, but not when navigating relationships.

I have no self-confidence when it comes to sports and I have to be dragged to big parties. However, I feel confident at work, in any mall anywhere (because I am an Olympic shopper) and in normal social situations. And I feel pretty confident about my writing—except lately.

I try to welcome criticism. Of course—like any writer—it’s painful, but I have my own way to handle things. I generally step back for 24 hours to make sure I’m not being all stupidly emotional, and try to react positively. I understand that my books are not for everyone, and I think I can learn from negative feedback.

However three negative critiques from three unrelated sources in the past three weeks left me reeling. I completely lost confidence and started to wonder if I should even bother writing anymore. I decided to take a short break from writing, and do some exciting things I had neglected—like housework and laundry. After a week, with the floors clean and everything ironed while watching NHL Revealed, I decided it was time to go back to writing. I opened my laptop, and … nothing. I was too discouraged to write, feeling like there was no point in writing because nobody liked my writing anyway. Yeah, I knew it was a pity party, but that didn’t make it any less real. And I also realized that although I had tons of positive feedback in the past, now I could only see the negatives. Confidence crises have a way of spiralling.

Writing seemed like a monumental task that gloomy me just didn’t have the energy for. I had a whole book completed, but I didn’t want to bother implementing any of the edits I had planned and I didn’t want to start something new. So I closed the laptop and started watching episodes of True Detective. (Don’t tell me the ending because I’m not done yet.)

Then after a hockey-related conversation on twitter about our respective losing teams, I was asked how my writing was going. Boom! Something clicked in my head. Myan likes my writing! She wants to read the next book! And then she tweeted she would be the first one to read the new book when it came out! Wow, magically I was motivated again, I opened up the laptop and started editing. It’s slow going right now, but like any sport (or so I assume since I’ve never excelled at one) it’s tough when you begin after a setback and gets easier as you go along.

So all I can say is, thank you, Myan! You inspired me. I’m off to write some reviews myself, to say thanks to writers whose work I’ve enjoyed. And I encourage everyone to electronically hug your favourite writer today, whether it be with a good review, a recommendation to a friend, or a cheerful tweet. Because physically stalking and hugging that writer would be too creepy, and I have the restraining order to prove it. Kidding.