The Madness of Writerly Insecurities

Despair. Pure despair.

As writers we’ve all got our insecurities. I have mine. My insecurities revolve around my ability to be able to craft a story that doesn’t need to be sliced to ribbons. The writing itself I’m confident in, but I know when Georgia McBride sliced the sequel to When Stars Die, my confidence was shaken–but it was shaken only slightly because when I re-did the first chapter, I had nailed it the first time.

But still…I have insecurities about my story. Are my characters developed enough? Do I have plot holes? If I have plot holes, can I easily fix them with just a few tweaks here and there? Is my plot on track? Those are my general insecurities, and they’ll probably always be insecurities of mine.

However, they’re not so bad they keep me from writing. If anything, my insecurities fuel my desire to get better as a writer and a self-editor. I have enough confidence in myself as a writer though. I know my ideas are invaluable, that someone will love them, that someone will want to give them a chance. This confidence has come from years of writing experience. But I know there are writers whose insecurities run so deep they’re nailed to the floor and just can’t bring themselves to write. They lack confidence in themselves and their stories.

In order to fix insecurities about your writing, you need to search deeper to why you have those insecurities in the first place. Do you fear rejection or failure? Are you afraid of getting hurt? Of hard work?

This post is not coddling, by any means. Rejection is something you’re going to have to get over. It will happen, it will sting, but you need to realize there is an entire world out there devoted to publishing, so many options, and move on to another one. Or you need to learn to accept criticism that your instinct tells you will make your story better.

Look, I’m a sensitive person, but my sensitivity does not affect my ability to take criticism. I love it, but I’m also a perfectionist. Critique is not meant to hurt you or your story. Critique is meant to help you, and nine times out of ten, the person critting you wants you to develop as a writer. So keep that in mind.

There is also no such thing as failure in writing. Writing a novel that ultimately has no potential is not going to hurt you. You’re only going to learn from it and grow because you’re going to begin to develop an understanding of why it has no potential in the first place. Repeat after me: There. Is. No. Failure. Failure only exists because you say it exists, so take that out of your mind right now.

Writing isn’t just about publishing either. It’s about growing and developing as a human being and learning amazing things about you and your world around you. It’s hard work, it’s tough, but our ability to be able to fashion things from our minds is a beautiful gift, and once you’ve been bit by the writing bug, you should never take for granted what can come from that mind–even if it’s overdone, or seems stupid, or undeveloped. You can only learn and grow. Learn and grow.

 

 

 

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Author:

Also known as The Dancing Writer, she is currently working on The Stars Trilogy, among other works.

4 thoughts on “The Madness of Writerly Insecurities

  1. oh it is maddening alright
    mainly because about every couple months I see more clearly what I want the words to do and I do a review and see they don’t do what I want them to do so I have to try and figure out (again) if I can figure out how to make the words do what I want them to do. And that itself is very maddening.

  2. and if that is not maddening enough some of the stuff I look back I see was on the road I want to take them on now, but a turnoff looked so inviting and I couldn’t help but take it and everything ended up far far away from where the adventure was going, so it’s also a lot of backtracking to try to get back to forward motion – and that is oh so maddening.

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