Advice for Poets 10: Gaining Confidence

Remember this, poets…You can be your own worst critic!!!

In this blog, we chat about the ways you can raise your confidence as a writer to the heights that you are able to share your writing with the world, as well as giving you a little advice about taking criticism and turning it into a positive experience.

Easy fundraising with poetry for cancer research
Photo by Kaushik Narasimhan / CC BY

Ask Other Writers To Proofread

Many writers are used to giving and receiving feedback, whether through social media, workshops, or seminars while studying at college or university. If you’re not among this group, then rest assured that other writers won’t find it strange if you ask them to have a look at your work and give you feedback.

You get two pluses here – writers are sensitive to other writers feelings, so any criticism they have for you will be given in a gentle way that is genuinely meant to help you improve. It’s also the norm in creative show-and-tell situations to always give positive feedback along with any suggested improvements which, for a shy writer, will build your confidence more than you can ever imagine until you try it.

Take A Break

If your piece has been a real labour of love then it’s likely you’re unable to look at it objectively because you’ll be so attached, whether positively or negatively. We writers also often get a touch of ‘snow blindness’ from staring at the page – we see but don’t read. This can both cause us to miss mistakes or, crucially, to over-criticise.

We’d suggest you take a break from your work if you’re feeling a strong emotional response to it and just want to sweep it all into the bin! It’s probably great – you’re just too close to the wood to see the trees. All the editors on this project do it, and all the poets we know – even the confident ones!

Don't feed the internet trolls... they're not as cute as THESE trolls
Don’t feed the internet trolls… they’re not as cute as THESE trolls


Dealing with serious criticism is hard… Dealing with Trolls can be downright painful. If you’ve taken the brave step to put your work out in public and you get a truly, truly horrible comment, chances are this is just a Troll trying purposely to hurt your feelings. Swearing, generic statements, or personal insults are some ways to tell if you’re probably just being trolled. Do NOT feed the trolls. Replying gives them satisfaction – take the high road.

On the other hand, if somebody gives you an honest piece of feedback that is kindly written and mixes positives in with the negatives then the likelihood is that person is just trying to help you improve your writing, and may even be a writer themselves- see above. They’re only giving you their opinion, and you don’t have to take it, but unlike the trolls they are just trying to help you become a better writer.

Have we convinced you to share your masterpiece poetry with the world yet? If so, please consider submitting some poetry for charity fundraising for Cancer Research UK. We’re taking submissions for our charity project until the first of August so please, share this with any creative people you know!


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