During the karate classes at my dojo (karate school), some of the adult classes are a mix of beginners and more advanced ranks. Sometimes groups are separated by ranks and instructors work with them on what’s appropriate for their level. Other times, lower ranks are encouraged to try to follow the more advanced ranks. During those times, you would often hear my husband (our chief sensei, or instructor) say to them “fake it ‘till you make it”. As our school has a very friendly atmosphere and everyone helps each other, sometimes it’s a lot of fun for the beginner students to do something that is more advanced, even if they haven’t been “officially” taught it yet. They also get a preview of what’s to come.
Personally, I love this phrase and have used it many times in my life to psychologically pump myself up. And it usually works like a charm. What exactly does the concept mean? It means to imitate confidence even when not feeling confident about an endeavor. The more you imitate that confidence, the more you feel like you can do it and the more success you gain in achieving the goal. As that happens, real confidence follows. In other words, act as if you’re already successful and you will be. It is also similar to the concept of smiling even if you feel sad and gloomy, and the more you force yourself to smile, the better your mood actually gets.
How can we apply the concept of “fake it ‘till you make it” to the life of a writer (or an aspiring writer)? Here are a few ways:
1) Set up and follow a writing schedule as if you already have a contract with an agent or a publishing company. Act as if it’s your job (even if it’s your second job), set goals and deadlines. When your agent or editor is waiting for you to finish writing or editing a novel, you feel the pressure to sit down and write. If you get into the habit of consistent writing even before you get a contract, it will be easier to continue doing once you land one. It will also make you feel more like a true writer psychologically.
2) Prioritize and make sure that your family and friends understand what that involves. Learn to say “no” if something is going to take you away from reaching your writing goals.
3) On the opposite end of that, do not forget to set time aside to spend with your family or just rest and do other things that you love. If you don’t have a good work life balance, you will burn out fast and that will delay achieving your success.
4) Start building your platform as an author even before you get published. Once you’re published, the basis of the platform, at least, should already be set and should be able to propel you more easily into the eye of your public/audience. Building a platform today means making connections with other writers, setting up and using your Twitter and Facebook author accounts, and maybe writing a blog.
5) Always be kind and gracious to everyone you meet. Encourage others to pursue their goals and dreams, pay it forward. And don’t forget to be grateful.