Recently I stumbled upon a conversation on Gawker: a young guy was really upset that he lacked confidence. And the other commenters were sympathetic, and giving him good advice like – try therapy, do something you love and become expert at it, and “fake it till you make it”. But he kept responding, “But I don’t have confidence, and it feels impossible to get it.” His feeling of desperation was palpable, and extremely familiar. I regularly feel this way about my confidence in my writing.
It’s all very well to “fake it till you make it”, but honestly, just like that anonymous commenter, I’d much rather just feel that sense of certainty that my work was worthwhile. Even if people thought I was arrogant for it. A healthy self-doubt is helpful. But a constant, grinding sense of not being good enough is a giant de-motivator for me. And I’m not talking about the need to improve my technique or improve the clarity of my writing or just work harder in general (I need to do all of these), but the feeling that my voice and my way of looking at things has no merit.
Do you feel confidence in your art form? And if so, how did you acquire that confidence? And if not, how do you establish it? Do you think it’s necessary? Is it possible that some of the most successful artists have no confidence at all?