The Chicken and The Egg

I’ve been thinking about confidence quite a bit lately. Wondering how important it really is to overall success in life. What’s the balance, if there is one, between pure talent and confidence in that talent. Which comes first? I know it’s a chicken and egg sort of question which after much debate you realize it doesn’t really matter which came first as long as they’re both there. But equally as important is that you cannot have one without the other.

I wonder if that dependence plays a bigger part than most realize. I really wish that I knew whether Charles Dickens or Gustav Klimt or David Sedaris or Margaret Atwood had the kind of overwhelming confidence that kept them going through rejection or writer’s block or running out of paint. I wonder if they had the utmost confidence in their abilities or if they just kept going because it was all they could do. That their need to create was completely outside the realm of caring whether or not they were appreciated or noticed or judged as good.

Because I have always been my worst critic. Because I’ve always been the one to hold myself back when it comes to pretty much everything. I pigeon-holed my writing into research based forms because they are widely accepted (and marketable) and I knew that I was good at it. Plus it’s pretty easy not to take it personally when you don’t get a grant because while the writing is important, mostly it’s all about the foundation and the proposed project.

Sometimes I think I might have epic stories in me, vast adventures swirling with romance and intrigue. But then I sit down to write, trying to put down any preconceptions or assumptions and just give myself the freedom to write what’s there. And the wisps of characters and distant vistas start to fade in the face of confrontation. And I wish I had the balls to demand that they line back up front and center. To forbid them from scattering like mice when a light flips on.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to let the possibility of my talent share the room with the whisper of confidence.

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