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Opinion: Which Is The Best Guide For Authors – Brain, Heart Or Gut?

Opinion: Which is the Best Guide for Authors – Brain, Heart or Gut?

Headshot of Sarah Banham

Sarah Banham, ghostwriter, business blogger, broadcaster, and author of fiction and non-fiction

By chance this Halloween we have a ghostwriter in our Opinion slot! As well as being a ghostwriter, British author Sarah Banham writes fiction, non-fiction and a business blog, and runs a radio show called Writer's Block. Here she asks questions and provides some answers about the importance of confidence as a writer and suggests ways to help you find it.

How to Conquer Confidence as a Writer

With over 30 years of writing experience, you would have thought by now I would have some confidence in it. Well, most of the time I do, but there are still days when I look at that blank screen or naked page and wonder what I’m doing even thinking of adding words to it.

  • Will it be interesting?
  • Will others like it?
  • Is it grammatically correct?
  • Are there any typos?

You know the kind of thing.

But confidence is a tricky little thing. Some people are blessed at birth and others, like me, have to learn it on their journey.

It can make the difference of turning your passion into a career or keeping it as a hobby.

When it comes to creativity, confidence is quite a biggie.  You need to have confidence in your work, whichever kind of creativity is your thing, in order to run a business and have others buy into it. Confidence is really about whether or not you are content enough with your work to allow others to see it and ultimately sell it.

The Role of the Brain, Heart and Gut

Heart graphic

(Image by ElMenda at Morguefile.com)

You can liken it all to body parts because your brain often talks you out of things while your heart wants to follow its desires.  Add to that combination your gut, with its own brand of instinct, you have yourself quite a conflict.

The thing is your gut will ultimately follow either your brain or your heart, but it will bring to the party a sixth sense to somehow keep you aware of potential dangers in order to protect you.

It is worth keeping in mind that self-belief helps confidence grow.  If you introduce yourself as a writer, that is a start.  It also helps if you have written before or have books under your belt as evidence, because undoubtedly as soon as you mention you are a writer, someone is likely to ask “Are you published?” or “Are you famous?”

The Most Important Question for Every Author

Over the years I have received lots of feedback on my work, and I have learned that there is a standard of quality expected before people will part with their money. So you will need to emotionally detach yourself from your work and view it as a potential customer.

Would you buy your work?

I write both fiction and non-fiction in addition to business blogging and ghost writing.  Although my first love is fiction, over the years I have found non-fiction a close second, because you can learn so much and learning can be such fun, albeit challenging.

Facts about Non-Fiction

Non-fiction can take you to a place you may never have explored before and actually forces you to learn about a specific subject with conviction, because if you don’t understand a thread within the subject, it will stand out like the proverbial sore thumb.

It is much the same with business blogging since you act as an interpreter between your client and their customers.

Confidence within non-fiction really comes down to believing you can do the job and taking on board only the constructive feedback that is relevant to your project.

If you took on every single opinion that everybody sent your way, you wouldn’t put anything out there at all.

The Importance of Self-Belief

There comes a point at which you have to believe in your own work. If you’ve spent years honing it, researching it, experiencing it and living it, then there is nothing left to do but have confidence in it.

So, my question to you is: do you listen to your brain, your heart or your gut when it comes to your writing desires?

OVER TO YOU Do you have tips to grow author confidence? What do you follow – brain, heart, gut, sixth sense, or something else entirely? Join the conversation via the comments box!

#Authors - what's most important, heart, brain or gut? @sjbwrites talks about confidence for writers Click To Tweet




Author: Sarah Banham

Writer of 30+ years and author of 10 books, Sarah runs her own writing business For the Love of Books. She is also a radio presenter, part-time degree student and host of several county-wide writing groups. For more information, visit her website: www.loveofbooks.co.uk.


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I love that idea of “Would you buy this if you hadn’t written it?” I guess a lot of authors would go “Well of course I would” but when you’re really honest with yourself, it helps you make the book as good as it can possibly be!

  2. Hmmm, interesting one, I guess all indie authors follow the gut to some extent as they have a belief in their work. I know, with my first book, I decided to try crowdfunding as I wanted to see if there was a demand for the type of book I was writing as well as raise some capital and thankfully, it worked out.

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