The Power of Borrowed Confidence in Writing

Eric G Reid
3 min readNov 27, 2023

Writers often find themselves embarking on a journey riddled with self-doubt and second-guessing. The insecurities that loom large, often articulated as, “Is my work truly impactful?” or “Am I just chasing the wind with my words?” are feelings that many, if not all, writers grapple with. However, an empowering perspective that I’ve come to wholeheartedly adopt over my years in the literary world has reshaped my outlook on the entire writing process: the concept of “borrowed confidence.”

Let’s first dive deep into understanding what “borrowed confidence” truly entails. At its core, this isn’t about adopting a facade or disguising oneself behind another’s abilities. Instead, it’s about embracing the collective strength of a community. Recognizing that in our writing journey, there’s a myriad of fellow travelers — editors, mentors, beta readers, and even fellow writers — all ready to lend their expertise, support, and constructive criticism.

For budding authors and seasoned professionals alike, the creative process can sometimes feel like traversing a vast, isolated desert. However, imagine if, amidst that barren expanse, you found an oasis at every juncture, replenishing your spirit and guiding you towards your goal. That’s precisely what borrowed confidence offers — a network of oases.

When one is in the throes of crafting a novel, the narrative’s nuances, plot intricacies, and character arcs can often become overwhelming. Here’s where the magic of borrowed confidence shines. By relying on the critical eyes of experienced editors or the fresh perspectives of beta readers, a writer can receive feedback that breathes new life into the narrative, sharpens its edges, and polishes its core. This collaborative feedback is akin to having multiple safety nets, ensuring that any potential missteps are gracefully caught and corrected.

Yet, the realm of borrowed confidence isn’t confined merely to the writing process. In the modern age, where marketing one’s work is almost as crucial as the act of writing itself, borrowed confidence takes on another essential role. Navigating the complex corridors of book promotions, advertisements, and reader engagements can be daunting. This is where the guidance of seasoned marketing mentors becomes invaluable. By relying on their expertise, writers can ensure their work reaches its intended audience and resonates as intended.

An anecdote that perfectly encapsulates this principle is a recent interaction I had with an emerging fantasy author. While her passion for her craft was palpable, so were her apprehensions about inadvertently breaching the unspoken “rules” that govern the world of fantasy literature. While she considered diving headfirst into the vast ocean of literary courses and self-help books, I offered a different perspective. I proposed that she collaborate with a developmental editor seasoned in fantasy. Such a partnership would serve a dual purpose. Firstly, it would ensure her narrative remains true to the genre’s spirit. Secondly, and more importantly, it would bestow upon her the invaluable gift of assurance, the knowledge that an expert is closely guiding her through her literary journey.

This perspective transforms the act of writing from being a solitary pursuit, often characterized by self-imposed isolation, to a collaborative ‘team sport.’ It’s a refreshing paradigm shift, recognizing that a book, while bearing a single author’s name, is often the culmination of numerous individuals’ collective efforts.

Beyond the practical benefits, there’s also a profound psychological advantage to embracing borrowed confidence. The knowledge that there’s a team, a support system that has your back, can do wonders for a writer’s mental well-being. It can serve as an antidote to the bouts of writer’s block that plague us or the crippling self-doubt that occasionally rears its head.

In closing, the literary world, with all its challenges and triumphs, is not a path one has to tread alone. By tapping into the reservoir of borrowed confidence, by leveraging the collective strength of a community, every writer, irrespective of their experience or genre, can forge ahead with renewed vigor, passion, and, most crucially, confidence.

Warm regards,

Eric G. Reid
Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Skinny Brown Dog Media
📞 770–277–6652

(http://SkinnyBrownDogMedia.com)

📩 Eric@EricGReid.com

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Eric G Reid

I'm Eric G. Reid, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Skinny Brown Dog Media. My mission: transform aspiring writers into authors, and help them create an impact