I Have Confidence In Me


Happy Monday!

First of all, I'm giving away a Reader's Advanced Copy of Save the Date to one lucky winner. You can see the details HERE. Or maybe this winner won't be so lucky. Read on. . .

I was watching a small bit of the Rally for Sanity by Colbert and Stewart, and Sheryl Crow came out and sang, first with Kid Rock, then by herself. And she looked so confident. When she opens her mouth, something good is normally gonna come out. And she knows it. I thought how different that was from writing–and maybe other things we attempt. Sheryl knows her voice. We all know when we hit a note or not. We can hear it. There has to be security in that. But when I write a book, I have no idea if it's good or not. I know when I teach a good lesson.  I know before I get a single comment if something I've cooked is good…or if it needs a date with the disposal. But writing? Who knows.

Sometimes on Twitter or Facebook every once in a great while I'll see an author say something like, “I am loving my book!” Or “Just turned in my novel and it's the best I've done yet!”  I think it's cool they know this. It implies confidence in the finished product. And that they can see the big picture. Most of us don't experience this. To me, writing is like blindfolding yourself, painting a picture, and then being asked what I think about it. I can tell you went into it, but I have no clue what the finished product looks like. When I turn in a book, here's what I do know for sure:

1. I've gained at least 5 lbs
2. There are definitely words. On a page. And they make sentences. Most of them.
3. There are some characters. And they talk and stuff.
4. I know my three line dedication has some good punctuation.
5. I believe with all my heart the first chapter makes sense. Chapters 2-40? Iffy.
6. Pretty much all my self-worth is tied up in this one book, and if one single person gives me an Amazon 3 stars, I'm going to have to spend the next six months reading inspirational books by Zig Zigler, Dale Carnegie, and Dolly Parton.

So where do we get confidence? I have studied this topic of late and have come to a few conclusions. Some tips I'd like to share, if you will:

1. You need T.I.

As I was watching Sheryl Crow sing one number with Kid Rock, whose song was genuinely good (further proof the world is falling apart, Mr. John Stewart), T.I. comes on and does a cameo. On the big screen. Prerecorded. Because he's in prison. But rap stars make everything better.  Whether it's a date, your job interview, or meeting your mother-in-law for the first time, wouldn't it help to know in those awkward moments, a rap star could make a small appearance and highlight what you've already got going on?  Case in point, Justin Bieber did a song with a rap star. He's a mega star. Clay Aiken has not done a song with a rap star. I rest my case.

2. An entourage.

Nothing says, “I'm a somebody” like having your very own cloud of followers hovering around you. When I go to book signings, there are often three people there. Two of them share my last name. The third I paid. But when I arrive at events with a posse, someone to hold my coat, someone to bring me Sonic lemon water, someone to tell me Spielberg is on the phone. Again. These things make an impression. And it inspires confidence in those observing. And makes me feel cool.

3. Bump-its.

In the 80s we used to say, the bigger the hair, the closer to God. (Or was that the more we burn out the ozone with our Aqua-Net, the sooner we'll SEE God?)  When you rock the big hair, it says don't mess with me. It says, I know who I am. And I am a big haired girl. It says, my hair contains mysteries. And maybe a few chicken legs tucked within. People don't doubt you nearly as much as they doubt scrawny haired girls. Just look at Gwynyth Paltrow. She's now singing country music. Not buying it, twiggy. Not buying it.

4. Quoting the Bible and/or foreign policy from CNN.

Whenever someone can do either one of these, I'm instantly impressed. My next book already features Bible references, but now it will also include mentions of Israeli lobby groups, Mexican drug cartels, and Kosovar refugees. Try this on your first day of school/work, and see if you don't make instant friends. They'll be like, “Ohhh, that girl knows something.”

5. Wear leather.
I don't really think I need to expound on that one.

This is my public service announcement for the month. It was a toss-up between this and my “don't choke on a turkey bone” lecture. But I think I'll save that one for Christmas.

Have a great week.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
Kristin - November 1, 2010

I seriously needed those confidence tips on this first day of NaNo. =) I definitely think I’ll have to try some of them…although I don’t own any leather.

I love “The Sound of Music”!


Ruth - November 1, 2010

I heart The Sound of Music! The reunion on Oprah was just wonderful…and the news that the “kids” are collaborating on a book?! That made me ridiculously happy. 🙂 Great tips BTW. 🙂

Angela - November 1, 2010

I so love this post. I so can relate. I can get so discouraged when I think… ‘does this thing I just wrote suck? Will people like it?’ It’s tough. My new motto when I begin to doubt myself is, “I’m a big deal.” Simple and stupid, but it works. Sometimes. : )

And how do I love The Sound of Music. Makes me want to go watch it right now.

Abby Minard - November 1, 2010

Great advice. I need to get me some T.I. Or Jason Derulo and auto-tune my voice.

Jenny B Jones - November 1, 2010

Abby, Jason Derulo could bolster any situation! (But can he sing a song without referring to his own name?)

Angela, I love that. “I’m a big deal.”

Ruth, the reunion was soooo good. I had no idea Christopher P was only 34 at the time of the movie. He’s always been older to me. I guess because of the nature of the character.

Kristin, you can do it! What are you writing about?

ashley - November 2, 2010

i have a clay aiken-esque friend who is desperately trying to make it into show business, although I’ve kindly and gently told him over and over that it’s going to be hard to find an audience for a 33 year old guy, who looks 22 and sings like a black gospel woman. he thinks i am crushing his dream, but whatever.

he wants to be in a boy band.

i wish i was making this up.

he’s about to get some new info about finding a rap partner.

Amani - November 2, 2010

I was wondering if “So over my head” is the last book of the series?

Ashley Clark - November 29, 2010

This is hilarious, Jen. I especially loved the line, “There are words. On a page. And they make sentences. Most of them,” and your brilliant use of fragments. Hope you are well!

Annah - December 7, 2010

Hey Guys!!! Have any of you read the Christy Miller Books? By Robin Jones Gunn


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