Feeling Insecure? You’re Normal #atozchallenge


Our letter of the day is I, and what better I word is there for a writer than insecurity?

Look, even if you’re not a writer, you feel insecure from time to time. It’s normal.

But then you pour your soul out onto a lot of pieces of paper (or computer files, or one giant file… whatever your process is!) and you realize that there’s an inherent vulnerability involved with being a writer. That no matter if you thought you were writing about Dick and Jane, when you take a step back and give your manuscript a cold, hard look, you realize how many of your own issues and insecurities you’ve laid out on the page.

(Someone once claimed to have picked up a summation of my marriage from my short story, Mannequin! I will refrain from saying if he was right in his assessment or not.)

But it’s more than that. As writers, “You like me!” is something we strive for. Because, after all, if no one likes us, no one will read our books! And while writing remains a labor of love, it’s also a career — and how can you excel in your career if no one reads your works… if no one likes you?

I call it IWI: Inherent Writerly Insecurity. and yes, I’ve written about it a couple of years ago.

I think it’s important, because it spurs us as writers to do better. To focus on making the best book possible, which seems to have emerged as the unofficial theme of this year’s A to Z challenge for me.

And it spurs us to ask for help (hey, that was yesterday’s post!) and to steel ourselves for the feedback that comes with that help. Because as welcome as it is, feedback is daunting. It’s scary. And when your editor shoots from the hip (and I’m looking at myself… and all my clients here!), that feedback can be a bit tougher than you’d like it to be. I know that sometimes, because of IWI, my clients read my comments a lot more sternly than I could ever say them.

So there’s good stuff in IWI. Embrace it. Learn to use it as just another tool at your disposal.

And remember: If you let your insecurity paralyze you, you’ll definitely never get any book written, let alone the best possible book. So don’t be paralyzed. Reach out to others for help. I offer a While You Write service that lets me hold your hand as you work through your IWI (or through difficult plot twists and turns). See if your editor does, too, if you’re not my client.

If not, reach out to a trusted friend. A loved one. Whatever or whoever it takes, find your path through the insecurity and create the best book possible.


1 Comment

  1. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    April 11, 2017 7:19 am

    Susan, have you heard of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group? It was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and started as writers blogging about their doubts/fears or offering encouragement monthly. Now the group also has a website, a Facebook page, and a reading group on Goodreads. Here’s the URL for the site: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

    Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Science Fiction/Fantasy Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *