Days when you feel like punching words


As someone who writes and revises for hours every day, my confidence fluctuates.

Sometimes I envy a clever headline. Or I wish my vocabulary were bigger. I could have explained things more clearly. I need to use more humor. Add more opinion. Et cetera. Usually I read another person’s writing — someone I admire — and then hate my own.

I’m pretty sure everyone experiences this at least occasionally, but when you write for a living, it’s more common. I’m a strong writer, but we’re all learning. Constantly. I once heard that this happens in fits and starts and not all at once, which is probably true. You don’t become a master overnight; it takes years of practice.

I’ve always struggled with crafting good headlines — and encouraging discussion. I’m a shy person and a bit of an introvert, so opening up to billions of people on the Internet can be hard. But that connection is important to me. It’s what makes writing worthwhile.

So my question to you is, how do you overcome your perceived shortcomings? What do you find works best for generating comments? How do you actually improve without regressing backward?

And above all, how do you keep from losing confidence?

Or we could just say screw it and spill our guts about how terrible our writing is on Mondays and how awesome it is on Wednesdays because that’s typically how it works for me.

(Maybe the solution is red wine. Lots and lots of wine.)