Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Only you can know

Hi! It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex Cavanaugh. Seems to be the only blog post I can be reliably certain of writing. Well, that's ok. If you're an insecure writer, like me, and you're dying to find a group that will boost your spirits, this is your lucky day! Hop on over to Alex's blog and sign up, then start posting! We're happy to include you.

Feedback. Reassurance. That's what this group is all about.

Positive feedback is awesome. So is the reassurance that you're good at this... that someone wants to hear your story. That someone else cares the way you do about your characters.

But a lot of times you don't get that kind of encouragement until you're near the end of the project. So what do you do while you're in the middle? In the throes of stress and anxiety, wondering whether you're just a hack who can't even cobble together a basic paragraph...?

Me, I do a lot of avoiding, of hiding from my work and finding anything else to do to make me feel successful, confident, better about myself. On the one hand, that works, because I don't have to feel those horrible crushing feelings that the fear of failure causes in me. But on the other hand... there's still this novel sitting there... waiting to be written. Waiting for me to return to it.

At some point you have to make a decision. You can do this. It's your story. You have to tell it. Is it worth it in the end to go through the pain of self-doubt, to struggle with the fear of inadequacy? Only you can know. Only you can say. Your characters, your story... it's yours. And even if you find that the feedback is less than positive and the reassurance is thin at best, you're the only one who can tell it.


  1. Oh, avoidance, I know thee well. At some point, while in the throes of the crappy middle where everything just seems like me navel gazing until I blow up the next thing, I just make a decision. I feel like I suck at writing, that I'm a complete hack, that for the LOVE OF SCIENCE I cannot spell. At that point, I make a decision. The decision is that it doesn't matter if I suck. So what if I can't spell? Who cares if I can't string two sentences together? I've sucked at much worse things to suck at, so on the scale of sucking, sucking at writing probably isn't one of the lost virtues I should be worrying about. I know, big help, I'm supposed to say something like "When I get in that dark place, I just hold onto all the hope anyone has ever sent my way." Nope. I go with the "Yeah, I suck, your point?" method. It's my own level of disease, but that's how I get through the hard part in the middle. Besides, the hope and stuff has always been a straw man, and I have to write from somewhere stronger.

  2. A critique group worked to get me through my first book. Problem was, it was the wrong group for a children's book. I had to divide that book four times once I found SCBWI and learned the rules for word count, etc. There wasn't an SCBWI group where I lived, so I put up an ad on their website and after almost a year, found 4 other writers. In the meantime, it was tough at home without support. Boy, did that group make a huge difference. So did the few children's book writers I found online to critique with before IWSG existed. Find people in your genre to help each other, and you'll be forever grateful you did. It even beats IWSG, and that's saying a lot.


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