Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 6 (Confidence & Paranoia)

Any Red Dwarf fans amongst you may notice the subject of this post is the title of an episode from series one. I felt it was an apt title.

I touched on confidence as being intermittently linked with motivation in Living the Dream Part 3. It’s true; I think the pair go hand in hand. If you lack confidence then you won’t be motivated to achieve what it is you want to achieve. Confidence is the prerequisite of motivation.

At any given time during my history of writing (and everything else), confidence has played a part in whether I’ve even began a task, let alone finished it. I’ve always had issues with self-doubt, otherwise known as paranoia.

I mentioned in that same aforementioned post that my paranoia, my lack of confidence prevented me from attending and participating in a DJing competition when I was younger. I was more scared by the prospect of looking foolish in some way than I was confident of getting myself out there and performing publicly; perhaps even making a name for myself.

It’s a common problem. There are many of us who are so scared of failure that we don’t even try in the first place.

I posted something on Facebook a while ago that I unfortunately didn’t stick stringently to. It said something along the lines that I needed to lose my fear of failure and develop a fear of not trying to succeed instead. The sad fact is that while the words are very poignant and pertinent, it’s very tough to break out of the mind-set that failure is a humiliation nobody yearns to face up to.

For that very reason, I’ve never properly attempted to make it as anything more than a run-of-the-mill working class citizen. Putting myself out there for the world to judge just seems too big and scary. So my works have remained relatively unseen, especially where writing is concerned. Of course, I put myself out there with my DJing via Mixcloud, but even I can admit that I didn’t do all I could to promote myself. Was my heart ever really in it or was it the fact that I really wasn’t that confident in my abilities? I mean there are some amazing DJ’s out there and I know I’m not as good as they are.

The same can be said of authors. I know there are lots who are much better than I am. I see them on WordPress all the time. I’m in awe of so many writers on here and how good their writing is. I could never write like that.

But then do I want to write like that? Surely it’s all about developing a unique style and mine is definitely more about quality of content rather than how the content is put across. Obviously I want to put it across in a good way, but I’m doing a good job from what I can gather; especially when I’m told from the reader that they can see my personality shining in my writing. That’s as good as a compliment gets for my money.

I finally have confidence in my writing. So much so that I took the advice of one of my blog friends, Keri.L (please give her blog a read), and used pronoun.com to self-publish Dead End as an e-book. It should be available to purchase over the next few days. I had wanted to publish it as a free e-book, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option with pronoun.com. To that end, I’ve decided to give any money I make off Dead End to charity. I wasn’t planning on making money off it so I’m not going to miss it.

To get back to the point though, I have finally got the confidence to throw my work out there to the masses. I’m confident enough to leave myself open to whatever criticism might come my way from those who don’t like my writing or disagree with my viewpoints. I’m going to take the grownup stance that any criticism will be constructive and productive. I want to learn to be a better and more complete writer; to please more of the people more of the time.

To decide I wanted to write a story independently when I was around eleven or twelve years old took a decent amount of confidence. I’d obviously read the works of Brian Jacques and thought “I’m good enough to do that” otherwise I surely wouldn’t have done it. I was confident enough to at least give it a try and that first story I wrote (in a blue exercise book of some description) was the gateway to what would ultimately lead me to where I am now.

Gaining the confidence to get something started is challenging enough, but maintaining the confidence to see it through to the bitter (or sweet) end is at least twice as tough. How many people do you know who started something full of gusto only to completely give up somewhere along the line? How many times have you done it yourself? I know I have.

I don’t think confidence is something one either has or doesn’t have. I think it’s something that comes to you when you need it and it comes to some more than others. I’ll try and explain what I mean.

I’ll reference Red Dwarf for a second time. There’s an episode in series five called Quarantine and in this episode, the crew come across a bunch of syringes filled with ‘positive viruses’. Kryten goes on to explain that a scientist discovered that things like luck, sexual magnetism and other such things are actually viruses that humans contract unknowingly and have a positive effect on their host.

Kryten injects Lister with a small dose of ‘luck’ and Lister proceeds to pick out every single ace in a deck of cards (the odds of doing so are 1,624,350 to 1 if my maths is correct). In an episode from series seven, Rimmer injects himself with ‘sexual magnetism’ and ends up getting lucky with about four different women.

Getting back to my point, I sort of believe in the theory. I don’t necessarily think positive states of mind and soul are viruses as such, but I don’t think they’re exactly permanencies of the human psyche either. In the case of confidence, I believe you get a shot of it depending on the situation and how likely you think you are to succeed. If you look at the situation and surmise there’s a good possibility you’ll do what you set out for then you’ll feel confident.

You may argue that there are those people who are confident regardless of whether they have good odds of success or failure, but you also have to factor in that people are very capable of putting on a front too. I’ve seen many a person act as though they’re supremely confident in front of people, but as soon as they’re away from such a public scene they shrink into something more modest.

I have been a classic example of just that during my time.

In many ways I still am putting on a show of confidence that isn’t entirely true. I don’t have confidence that my novel will definitely be deemed good enough for publication once it’s finally ready. I don’t have confidence that it’ll definitely sell if it does get published. All of that is simply too much of a lottery for me to feel confident.

None of that matters though because what I do have is the confidence (finally) to at least try and get the novel published and put it forth as a kind of sacrifice. I don’t want people to judge me or my baby harshly, but if I don’t take the risk of that happening then my baby will remain forever ensconced in a save file doing and achieving nothing for itself nor me. What good is that?

To become anything you want to be you have to have the confidence to accept the possibility of being metaphorically shot down as an occupational hazard. You also have to have the confidence to pick yourself back up and go again when you have been metaphorically shot down. I finally learned that with my writing over the last year. The thought of my novel not being given the chance to strut its stuff in the public forum concerns me more than the prospect of publishers not liking it.

This blog was created so that people with some actual know-how when it comes to writing can peruse my abilities and judge me accordingly. Thus far the feedback has been very positive and that only further instils me with confidence. You people reading, liking and commenting on my posts have had your part to play in my success if I realise my dream and become a fully-fledged published author; for even putting me in a position where I feel confident enough to do so, I thank you all.

Without confidence you have no real chance. You can’t go hoping to contract the luck virus and everything falling into place. You need to feel self-assured enough to begin in the first place and see it through. I’m no longer in a place where I’m lacking this most important and fundamental ingredient in which to make my dream a reality.

What are your thoughts on the importance of confidence? Has a lack of it ever prevented you from seeing something through? Has confidence itself ever pulled you through a tough situation when you thought you might not succeed? Drop your comments below and I will reply as soon as I’m able.


Catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 by clicking on the appropriate link.

34 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 6 (Confidence & Paranoia)

  1. As long as I have known you, I have always seen you as a confident and positive person. Hearing you talk about your novel, your writings and aspirations, I have always truly believed you will achieve your goal of getting published.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you don’t understand just how much that belief in me spurs me on in attempting to achieve that dream. People like yourself; especially yourself; are massive and constant confidence builders. Without that spur, I wouldn’t have made the progress that I have so far

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      1. Indeed, It’s I who has put the physical work in as far as writing goes, but I would say that proofreading is as much a physical act too as it has to consume your time and attention every bit as much as the actual writing. So you too have invested your time and effort in my work. Without that, I might still be procrastinating over whether I want to get the story published rather than saying I definitely am going to look at getting published. Your efforts and the efforts of others, no matter how big or small, are invaluable and everyone will get their due credit when the time comes

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      2. I’ve actually got myself ahead again on posts I’ve been writing that much. I posted the penultimate sub chapter of A Survivor’s Apocalypse Story today. The next one wraps up the story (well, part one of the story anyway. I’ll return to it in a few months). I’ve got several chapters of my next big story written, my next top five post, a flash fiction post and the one I’ve just mentioned. I’m rocking and rolling!

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  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I’d describe you as a street psychologist. You might not have the textbook knowledge I have from my psychology degrees, but you’re an intuitive psychologist who looks at the world in a really perceptive way. I used to have a pitiful level of confidence, so I faked it to (more or less) make it. Like you say, apparent confidence has a magnetic quality. My confidence fluctuates along with my mood disorder. Hypomania makes me think I’m pretty shit hot at everything including writing, depression turns that artificial confidence into self loathing and sometimes self doubt (about me as a person) but I never think my writing isn’t good enough. I have an unshakable confidence in my ability to put my truth out there. I don’t edit. I write intuitively and from the heart, as I feel I have nothing to hide. I often have to out disclaimers in my writing because I anticipate what I write will be controversial to some. Maybe I need to drop the disclaimers altogether, and have the confidence to write without warnings. I have had to correct an ignorant follower for something that was said to me, along the lines of “depression is a choice” She hasn’t heard the end of it! Bless her, but I have full confidence in my truth, and in the importance of destigmatising mental illness, even if you piss a few people off along the way. You will get published, I’m sure of that, and like you say, there’s no point your stories being kept to yourself through fear. You’re a brilliant writer!!!

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    1. I don’t see myself as a psychologist in any way. Just an opinionated sod! 😂 I have a passive interest in psychology so I do have a tendency to look into the psychological aspects of people and draw conclusions, but my conclusions are more musings than a solid belief. Kind of breaking it all down to a point where it makes a modicum of sense to me. I’d be very interested to hear what your take on confidence is from an educated perspective.
      I like that you have the wherewithal to write without editing. I couldn’t do that. I’d always need to proofread before sending it out into the public domain. Not necessarily to change details (unless the details are just wrong), but more the grammatical side of it. I don’t think your work needs a disclaimer. Apologising in advance for ‘swearing’ after what you’ve been through? Sorry, but are you fucking five years old? Screw that! If people are offended more by swear words than the awful things you’ve had to endure then they don’t deserve to read your blog. Simple as that for my money!
      Genuine depression can’t be prevented. It’s because you can’t control what makes you feel bad that very well makes you depressed. I have a problem with those who throw the term depressed around when they’re just feeling a little shitty about something circumstantial. Your situation is a long fucking way from circumstantial! Damn her for her dismissive attitude xxx

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      1. Yes, depression can be bandied about as a term to cover over being a moaning arse with a pessimistic joyless outlook. However clinical depression is a different thing. I think I’m quite an upbeat cheerful person, who in spite of that battles depressed feelings because of my PTSD demons, but I am not the depression. I live a pretty good life in spite of my depression.👍 It does surprise me that some people are so offended by my blunt telling of the truth. Someone said I was “too intense” recently. I wanted to tell them their blog was “too boring” but stopped myself 😆 Most people edit because they have a standard they want to live up to. I don’t edit, because anything I write is “good enough” in my book, because I’m telling the story of what’s deep in my heart, so I won’t apply critique to it, and grammar and spelling doesn’t matter hugely to me. You can easily get bogged down in that kind of detail, and that isn’t the salient feature of writing. I never read a blog post and think “good grammar” 😂 I assess it by whether it evokes emotion in me as I read, and the extent to which it transports me into another world, or another person’s mind. To know another person’s mind is what I love about reading anything, whether it’s a fictional creation or reading the musings of a blogger or the contents of a memoir. I’d have to think on what my educated view of confidence is, nothing is springing to my mind immediately! Being educated is irrelevant if you can’t remember the shit you studied when asked about it 😂😘

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      2. Precisely. There’s a difference between depression and eternal pessimism. I apparently suffered from clinical depression (GP diagnosed) and I really didn’t understand. The anti d’s did literally nothing which led me to believe they were nothing but a placebo. If I need a positive mind-set in order to take the drugs then it surely negates the purpose of taking the fucking drug! I just ended up naturally pulling myself through it, though I do have my relapses. that’s if I was ever really depressed at all which I’m not sure of.
        Too intense? Fuck off! Why do people make such delicate little snowflakes of themselves? It really boils my piss. What do they want? For you to put a nice slant on something absolutely abhorrent in every sense just to protect their feelings? In your place I’d be saying put up or jog on.
        I totally agree with your assessment when it comes to reading. I don’t care at all about grammatical or spelling errors. I want to be entertained by the story being told and that’s all I give a hoot about. But I’m really critical of my own work. I suppose I read it from the perspective of a snooty smart arse who might actually discredit my work because I misused a comma or something. Those fuckers do exist. It’s not that I’m trying to appease them, but I like to make it as watertight as possible. I wish I could write more like you. That ‘who gives a fuck’ attitude must be a breath of fresh air.
        I don’t think you’re the first person who can’t recall what you were educated with straight away and you definitely won’t be the last. I think we all have a habit of repressing the knowledge we find less relevant to living xxx

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      3. If you’re not depressed, in a biochemical sense, anti depressants won’t have any effect. Anti depressants only correct fucked up neurotransmitters, and even then it’s hit and miss. Also anti depressants don’t make you happy, they just regulate your attention, sleep and wake cycles, physical energy levels and that kind of shit. They usually make you sexually defunct and gain or lose weight, so all round they don’t work for everyone. I had to try about six before I found one that suited me. Placebo effect can be just as effective as real effects. In blind studies where people don’t know they are taking a dummy pill, they still report improvement in mood because they expect to feel better. I replied to that person that as I have a histrionic personality disorder, I may not be to everyone’s cup of earl grey tea, but I won’t change as it’s my blog and I happen to like who I am. People do pick fault with me, more than the average Jo, as I put myself out there with less restraint than most. But I have a little fan club too who love the way I am and find it refreshing. Horses for courses. I hate the grammar police. They’re usually self appointed oafs. My favourite put down (that I’m too scared to use) is “My, you are a purveyor of fine bullshit” 😋😂 X

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  3. Until I read this I did see you as unfailingly confident; reading this has given me a different impression, making you more human somehow. I certainly struggle with self confidence; is probably the main thing holding me back in several parts of my life. I have come to understand how my lack renders me unable to decide or commit to my crafts. Anyway, congrats on your pending publication! And thank you for sharing. 😀

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    1. I have a habit of painting myself with such a veneer because I tend to see that confidence brings people in. Once they get to know me they realise the scared little boy within. Haha. Is that fakery?
      I wouldn’t have known you lacked confidence if you hadn’t said so in previous conversations. You write in a very confident manner. You’re super eloquent too. Eloquence is a rare trait these days

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      1. Many thanks; the way I write used to garner a fair amount of criticism from my peers. A wise woman whom I follow said again and again that a person’s eccentricities point to their gifts. I started to see my oddities as gifts and have built up my confidence from there. Her name is Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes and I am certain I will end up writing about her at some point.

        It’s interesting to me that you saw me as confident; I, too, quake inside and feel certain it shows to the world. I appreciate hearing about how you see me. Also, I have been pondering the uses of persona, especially since I started posting online, and I wonder if it’s more a blessing than, add you say, “faking it?” What are your experiences with persona? I am interested to read more about it.

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  4. Oops wasn’t done and hit send anyway! Gosh… well that was still pretty long… so little miss chatterbox over here will just say I’m so glad you’ve put yourself out here. You are a very good writer, Paul. You have every right to be confident in your skill

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  5. Proud of you for gathering your confidence and courage to put yourself out there and start seriously trying to get your book published. It is a courageous thing, I think, to make those first steps. That’s not to say you might not still feel apprehensive or scared… Courage, I believe, is doing something you must, even when you are scared… I will totally be downloading your Dead End ebook as soon as my data resets… even though I’ve already read it

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It took a long time to get there. Confidence, or a lack thereof, has been my achilles heel for a very long time. Well not entirely. The fear of failure has always been my achilles heel, but confidence is directly linked to that.
      Your support has been invaluable. You’ll have definitely played your part if my novel gets published in the end. I just need to stop thinking it’ll happen overnight. In the meantime, I can venture into the world of self publishing shorter stories

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you, my confidence is not the highest. I suppose I fear failure too, but that causes more of a keeping my expectations low and therefore don’t put in as much effort that’s required to be really successful. I try… but it’s a moderate amount that might help, but also a valid excuse should nothing work out extremely well in the end. I’m glad you appreciate my support, but I must say it is very easy to support such a talented guy such as yourself ☺️

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  6. Hmm…so courage could be injected too to use your metaphor. I’ll just read this again lol I think I need this advice but don’t get it yet. Maybe bc I haven’t had my coffee lol. I shall return (: E.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always need coffee before reading or writing. I made myself look such a twat the other day commenting on something when I was only half awake. Really simple sarcasm that plain didn’t click. Nobody tell me my morning coffee isn’t crucial!

      Read this any way you want though. If it helps you in any way then I’ll consider it a victory. I do like to help folk 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hahaha I have so done that only it was via text. Oops! Aw I appreciate that but I think you do have something here…and it’s something I think I need. Don’t worry I’ll blow up your comment section with questions again when I’m done lol. And I’m sure you do help ppl. It’s just not everybody talks as much as me :p cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like talky people. Not talkative people. They’re smart arses. Talky people are great though. What’s the difference? Who knows?! I make this shit up as I go along 👍
        Please do bombard me with questions. I invite them at the bottom of my posts. I’m here to partake in enlightening conversation as well as bore people with my posts 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a lack of self esteem is that kinda the same? So as I read this I kept replacing the word confidence with courage…is that also kinda the same? Either way congrats on the “virus” may you ever stay “ill”. E.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suppose it could be. I don’t think courage is necessarily a permanent fixture of the human psyche. I’ve done some courageous things, but not necessarily felt courage whilst performing them.
      I hope I stay I’ll for a good long time! Haha

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