Writing confidence

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , ,

Writing is one of those things that I like to do for myself. No pressure to have a certain tone, no topics I need to stick to. When there are more guidelines, I get stressed and I have very little confidence in what I produce. Just replying to emails at times is a strenuous process that requires a ton of revisions.

Funny enough, I managed to get into marketing and sometimes need to produce content. It’s often emails sent en masse to partners, but also includes landing pages, presentations, and the occasional blog post. It’s the emails I dread most. Week after week, we come up with new topics and I need to create a piece around it. Something that will get the point across yet include all the details we need to share. I breathe a sigh of relief every time this is finally completed and scheduled.

While I’ve gotten better about going ahead with confidence, I still wonder each time I send out my initial draft whether the team will come back wanting to completely rework it. Instead, I’ve found that almost every single time there are minor tweaks, but no major overhauls. I’ve received some nice feedback from these and over time I worry less and less. I just can’t get to the point where I consider myself a great writer. I don’t think I ever have, nor do I think I ever will.

When I write for myself, it doesn’t matter how good or bad I am. All that matters is that I get to express myself the way I choose to. Anything that comes out is me, so there is no wrong. But when I write for others, there is so much room for judgement. For whatever reason, even as I receive praise, I can’t quite accept it. I just feel like a farce. Each success is another slip under the radar. One day I’ll be found out: I’m actually not a very good writer at all.

I began reading Lean In and so far many things have rung true for me. One of the points that Sheryl Sandberg made was that she too felt like a fake. So perhaps it’s the woman in me, the one who has been struck by imposter syndrome and doesn’t feel worthy of being a good writer. I’m trying to overcome that, and luckily I’ve received plenty of positive feedback lately to help me along the way. I was rather surprised when my manager praised my writing style, saying I had a way of writing the way I speak and coming off very friendly and amicable even if delivering bad news.

My manager works remotely so most of our interactions to start were via email. When he first met me in person, he expressed the warmth and cheerfulness he saw in me. I had not really noticed that about myself and oftentimes I still don’t really see it, but I’m glad that’s the impression he gets. All that laboring over email replies must have paid off! So maybe I am a good communicator after all.

Whatever the case, practice brings improvement, so I will have to keep on doing. At work, my manager had asked me what I like and do not like to do. Of course the one thing I said I don’t really like had to be the one thing he decided I should try more. Can you guess? Yup, it was writing. So now he has me managing a few new projects where I need to take control of the content and get it produced by a team I work with. I like working with the team, but putting together the copy to use is such a pain. I do recognize this as a learning and growing experience though, so while I don’t look forward to it, I will still work on it diligently. I may not like how I do it, but I hope that my effort comes through and I end up getting a lot better.

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