Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Just Write

If you've never heard of Insecure Writer's Support Group, you're in for a treat! Head on over to the IWSG website, created by the awesome Alex Cavanaugh, and sign up to be part of this amazing network of writers. Then on the first Wednesday of every month, post your insecurities on your blog. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. But instead of being tarred and feathered for being insecure, you'll find you're uplifted and encouraged by others who are in the same boat as you, or who have been there before and can show you the treasure map so you can make your way through to the other side.

This month's post is my submission for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, for the category "Writing".

You know, I've been working on this insecurity for a while now, this idea that there are no set "rules" for how to be a writer. You just...write. But that doesn't mean you write every day, always, although maybe you do...It means just what it says: You just write. It doesn't mean that you have books published, or an agent, or that you're in the process of querying everyone in the publishing industry. You just write.

So much of our insecure writers’ lives are spent seeking validation from other people, people we deem to know more about the business of writing than we do. We give them the power to tell us whether our ideas are any good, whether our plots are properly executed, whether we’re allowed to take up space at the next writer’s conference if we don’t know what a query is…when really, what we want them to do is tell us that we belong to this magical group: Writers! And, sadly, there will always be someone who wants to keep other people out, because they’re just as insecure as we are that there won’t be room for them in that group if they let us in.

The truth is, though, that we are the ones with the power to tell our stories. We decide what is good. And by the very act of writing we declare to the world that we belong.

Do you have an outline? Just write. Do you have a first draft? Just write. Do you have five published novels and a contract on a new series? Just write. Do you have the tiniest baby of an idea percolating in your mind? Just write! Write it down. Then guess what? You're a writer!

Elisabeth Kauffman is a freelance editor of fiction and you can find her on the web at

(I give the IWSG Anthology permission to reprint this blog post for their publication "The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond)


  1. You and I must have been on the same wavelength today! I love it—just write! Amen, sister! Enough said. :)

    So great to meet you through the IWSG! By the way, I'm your newest follower! :)

    IWSG co-host

  2. There is always room for more. you write, you're a writer - period.
    Thanks for contributing to the book!

    1. Thanks for the opportunity, Alex! And thanks again for IWSG. It's such an amazing group to be part of.

  3. I think this is an important thing to remember. I didn't expect to get backlash, but when I announced my book deal, I got some unhappy responses that made it sound like they thought my big fat book was taking up too much room on the shelf, making it impossible for others to publish.

    I know where their feelings come from, but as a writer, I never expected that. I didn't think people would be insecure enough to blame me for their publishing luck. It blew me away (and not in a good way). And I think it's important for writers to know that some writers, sometimes, might not be in a place where they can be supportive. It's good to know, so writers don't get blindsided. Good post.

  4. Nice. That's the advice my first literary agent gave me, and she was 100% right.


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