Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing 101: Insecurity

Every time you sit down at your keyboard to write a book, and actually do it, you've won a battle. Writing a book isn't just about finding a pretty way to put the words down on the page. It's not just about entertaining, or educating, or agenda-pushing. It's about defeating that little voice inside yourself that tells you you're crazy for thniking you can write a book. 

Every writer faces insecurity. And when you keep writing anyway, you're winning the battle...but you're not ever going to win the war. 

Fooling the World

It takes a certain amount of bravery to put a book out there for someone else to read, whether you're self-publishing and inviting the world at large to judge your words or you're asking your closet friend to take a look at some chapters. It's frightening to put yourself in another person's hands like that. 

Insecurity stops lots of would-be writers from pursuing their dreams, and it trips up even the most established of authors at the worst possible times. Everyone gets insecure about their writing. I can't count how many times I've thought that maybe I'm a hack, but I don't let it get to me. Because here's the thing: even the most famous authors have felt that way. 

It's not your fault you're insecure about your writing. The industry has helped make us this way. Rejection is common, bad reviews are a matter of fact, and explanations are rarely forthcoming. When you don't know what you're doing wrong, it's easy to start second-guessing everything you've done and everything you ever will do, writing-wise. It's easy to start feeling a little like a hack. It's easy to be afraid.

So go ahead and feel afraid, and insecure, and unsure of yourself...but don't let it keep you from writing. If you write and you put something out there for the public to read or for an agent to read, you will experience negativity. That happens to all writers who let anyone read their work at any time. But you will have positive experiences as well, and you'll learn from them all. You'll keep writing, you'll get better, you'll establish a fan base and you'll move on to bigger and more exciting projects. And you'll probably always feel a little like a hack.

Being insecure about your writing is a good thing. That shows a desire to keep improving, to produce something that's great. Fear keeps you motivated and detail-oriented. Use it, work with it, and keeping trying to improve your work so it doesn't meet "hack" status. The day you stop being insecure about your work is the day you ought to worry. Until then, keep on writing.

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  1. I love your last paragraph, it so true! But hard to think that way when your knee deep in the fear you'll never write anything worthy, ever! I'll try to remember your wise words :-)

  2. Glad you liked the post, Annalisa!