Much has been said about believing in yourself when no one else does. But what about the inverse of that? Surround yourself with people who believe in you, so that when your own confidence shakes, you have someone else's to lean on.
I've had several experiences that shook my confidence. Without getting too personal, I've had periods where all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and cry (and sometimes I did). But I knew people still believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. For a while, I leaned on them until I could stand on my own again.
When someone says something kind about you or your work, hold onto it. Put it in a special drawer, or start a word document and copy and paste it there. If your confidence ever shakes, open the drawer and begin reading. Know that others believe in you. And that, if no one else, God believes in you. God will never give up on you, so never give up on yourself.
Here are some notes I've gotten about my writing that I've held onto when I needed someone else's faith. I hope you have some too.
"I just love reading what you write...with your talent, you could list the ingredients on a cereal box and it would be riveting."
"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your stories. Reading them together was kind of like sitting down to a great dinner—with an equally wonderful dessert."
"Last, but certainly not least, #FF is for my friend @Kami_Marynda. She is new to twitter but remember her name, she is going to be famous!"
"I ate this chapter up. I love it! My stomach just fell out when you ended that scene."
"Wow! thats all i can really say...I felt like crap before reading these stories but now I feel like I could take on a drunken mob! Your writing style is excellent as if you really were in the characters' shoes."
Avoid spending too much time around people who tear you down. We can't avoid those people completely, but why put ourselves in that situation more than we have to? Life is hard enough already.
Be the person who uplifts others, who writes notes of thanks, who gives praise when it's due. Supply others with sincere words they can put in their special drawer. That doesn't mean you can never criticize something, but seek to build encouragement rather than discouragement.
Be the person that can believe in others.