Confidence is a concept I have grappled with, my whole life long. That ability to believe that yes, gosh darnit, I am good enough for the task, able to slay that dragon, to win that audition, to write that story. To know that, if I don’t currently have the knowledge set, that I can learn it, train it, become it.
The first time I auditioned for UVic’s acting stream, in my interview they asked me what my biggest weakness was. I told them, confidence. That I had been out of the theatre world for a couple of years and I wasn’t certain I would cut the mustard.
I didn’t get in. That time. Fortunately, a trait I did have at the time was the stubborn persistence to try again.
But that failure made me question how I approached life. My former outlook was to look at each possible interaction (auditioning for a show, submitting to a contest, applying for a job), to examine my current abilities, and to see if I matched what was needed for the task. I was confident in my decisions, but shied away from the larger challenges.
Then came the failed audition, and I saw how this mindset made me avoid activities that excited me, but that I wasn’t sure I could do.
“Screw you, confidence.”
So now I take the antagonistic approach and ignore the intellectual conversation of whether or not I think I have the appropriate skillset to do something. Nowadays, I say yes to every opportunity that comes my way that excites me, with two exceptions:
- If I am unable to schedule it around all my other awesomeness.
- If I have a really, really, REALLY good reason to say no.
As a result? I am a Peer Helping Coordinator, Fine Arts Senator, Impromaniac, finishing up both a BA in Writing and a BFA in Acting, PEAK Study Leader, Astronomy Interpreter, Red Hat Lab Supervisor, ESL Study Centre Volunteer, Children’s Ministry Volunteer, and a number of other titles. I haven’t fit all the requirements for a single job I have landed. And I am learning so much.
Which brings me to The Letter. Ever since my second year in the Writing department, we students have been pushed to submit our works to literary journals. This was seen as something writers did. As a way to get our work known. As a way to motivate us. As a way to get published!
But my own pieces weren’t good enough, surely not.
A couple of years ago when I joined 43Things.com – a site where you list your goals, track your progress, and other people cheer you on – a few of the goals I included were seemingly simple little projects, items to be accomplished in a day. Like submitting already completed works to a literary journal. But my own pieces weren’t good enough, surely not.
Somehow, my just-go-for-it attitude has not carried over to my writing.
Well, today I bundled up three poems, added a contest fee, and sent them off to The Malahat Review. Just like that. And are my poems good enough? Doesn’t matter. The importance is in the doing.
In becoming a confident writer.
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