Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writers Wednesday

Today is the first day of a new monthly blogging series, the Insecure Writer's Support Group (follow the link for information and a list of participants). You may be wondering why I'm doing this because obviously, I am not insecure at all. All right, I'm totally and completely insecure and I'm looking forward to sharing my fears and concerns and maybe, just maybe, being able to help alleviate the fears and concerns of others. Hmmm...alleviating fears and concerns may be too much to ask from my poor addled mind. Maybe I should just shoot for letting people know they're not necessarily alone.

I guess we'll find out.

Anyway, I don't know really what I should talk about in this very first post. A lot of people (well, okay. Maybe not a lot of people. Maybe just two people. I haven't made it to very many blogs today. You can blame my day job. I do.) seem to be talking about their fears so, for a lack of any better ideas (again, blame the day job. It just sucks the creativity out of you), here are a couple of mine:

1. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid that I'll write this book, publish this book, put it out in the world and absolutely nobody will read it or buy it or acknowledge it in any way, shape or form. Like, not even my friends and family. Maybe I could just market it as a doorstop. Do people still buy doorstops? You could crochet a cover for it like people do with bricks. It'll be the best doorstop ever. Just don't, you know, get it wet.

2. I am afraid of success. Go figure, right? I suppose being afraid of success is a little like trying to run before you can walk but I think about these things sometimes, life after publication (I hear there is such a thing and it is occasionally nice) things, I mean and I worry that I will one day run out of ideas or words or talent (provided I have any with which to begin, of course). Running out of any of these would not be conducive to a successful writing career. That's probably the good thing about my day job. It does not require talent to fold shirts. Alcohol, maybe. But talent? Not so much.

3. It's probably hard to tell, given my occasional bouts of holier-than-thou grammar lecturing, but I have a sometimes crippling lack of self confidence. I am honestly my own worst enemy when it comes to writing and don't really know how to get out of my own way.

Since three is a magic number (Name! That! Reference!), I'll stop there. I do, however, want to give a shout out to a few people and one group of people who are awesomely supportive. And don't be offended, Blogger friends of mine, because while I do find you delightfully wonderful, this is a (not all inclusive) list of people with whom I have actually stood in the same room.

1. Code Monkey (aka The Man). I give him a lot of crap and maybe pick on him a lot in blog and, you know, in life in general, but he really is a good guy who puts up with all my writer idiosyncrasies and never (outwardly) complains about them. He's also actively researching self publishing opportunities for me because, unlike me, he thinks it will be awesome. And we're all about the awesome. Hmmm...maybe I should start calling him Captain Awesome (Name! That! Reference!)

2. My Bro. He's really awesome too. He'll listen to me drone on and on (well, he reads my long rambling emails) about the same thing over and over again. He never (outwardly) complains about my repetitive problems and then always gives me good advice. He told me recently that, "As long as you do what you want to do, you won’t make the wrong decision." Awesome advice, right? So now I just need him to tell me what is it I want to do...

3. My friend Mike (aka the Best Beta Reader in the World). If you read his name, you should already know why I want to celebrate this guy. He's read every draft of everything and has never (outwardly) complained about it. Plus, he's never had me committed or told me I can't hang out with his kids after receiving an email from me asking some random throat slitting question. Why I keep thinking Mike's some kind of throat slitting expert, I do not know (he probably doesn't know either) but he always comes up with something. Mike also gets points for recently telling me that should I ever even consider quitting this whole writing thing (I won't.), that he will be worse than a nest of angry yellow jackets until I get back to it or whatever. And as someone who recently stepped on a nest of angry yellow jackets for the second time in her life, I know how much I don't want to have that happen.

4. My writers group. This is a group I joined a few months ago after seeing an ad for it in the local paper. Every other time I've attempted to join a writers group in the Mount Washington Valley, it's been a group of little old ladies writing their memoirs. This new group is kind of like that (we seem to talk about quilting a lot) but it's been fun and I find myself coming up at the end of each meeting feeling energized and ready to do some serious writing. I almost never do that serious writing (again, we're blaming the day job for that) but still, I want to.

That's going to do it for me today. Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you next time on My Pet Blog.


  1. Three is a magic number is from Schoolhouse Rock. Or is that way before your time?
    Your first item had me laughing! What a marketing ploy.
    The second one I can relate to, because I didn't know what to expect with one book. But the demand for a second one and the increase in my blogging friends is scary, because I never expected it. Now I'm worried I'll let everyone down.

  2. I suffer from all of these. Sad but true. The writer's curse?? Who knows. Good thing we have each other and such a great writer community to back us up when we're feeling low.

  3. @Alex- Schoolhouse Rock is definitely NOT before my time. =)

    @Hannah- Always good to know we're not the only ones feeling neurotic and insecure.

  4. Fear of failure and success go hand in hand I think. Sounds like you have some really great support at home (and in the interwebs!). We all need our own cheering section.

  5. You could always write a 12 part serial, then hide it in your attic and wait until you shuffle off the mortal coil before leaving clues to the whereabouts of your work - meaning that when they're published you wont have to worry about failure or success :P

    I think that kind of pressure will push you to improve, no matter how successful your novel is. Plus, with the blog-o-sphere at your back, you can't lose :)

  6. M.J. - Well when your book comes out I will definitely buy it, so that should help with problem number one. As for number two, you are too creative and awesome to never heave a great idea again and number three, I think reminds us all that we are human and kind of keeps us humble.

    Though, I admit I lack confidence too, but luckily you have your blogger pals to support you and you have a great support system at home.

    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog.

  7. Your book sounds like a great idea! There was a comment on Mithril Wisdom how we aren't getting many Tolkien-like stories because everyone's afraid of being too Tolkien-like, so keep on keeping on.
    PS I'm tempted to use poor grammer here, just to be an ass.

  8. a writers group is a wonderful thing!
    i try to get my poor grammar out of the way leaving comments =)
    afraid of success? cant help you there. dont know anything about it!
    you sound well adjusted to me! nothing a few supportive comments wont help with! keep going! yeah!

  9. You have the same feelings that every artist has, it's the way we are wired, it comes from that part of our creative brain that produces our works, whether it's writing/poetry/song-writing,painting/drawing, etc...
    That's why Da Vinci carried the Mona Lisa around with him for 15 years before he finished it.
    Self-doubt is our worst enemy!

  10. i'm afraid of failure and success too. wonder how many writers are like that.

  11. I think its easier on the ego to fail than to succeed. If you succeed, everyone expects more of you. Like a second book - or whatever book THEY would like to write but don't have the time.

    Oh the Pressure . .

    And I don't think having a few "special people" in our lives negates all the other friendships and support. Having a lot of acquaintances is a good thing; having a few close people you can say anything to - that's priceless.

    Good luck on your journey MJ. You know, it really does happen differently for everyone. You've got such a sunny, positive attitude that I'm sure a lot of good things will come your way, even if sometimes it doesn't seem so.


  12. Hi - I'm still making my way thru the blog list for the insecure writer's group. I so relate to your list, especially the fear of failure and the fear of success. I had to really accept and understand those emotions before I could move forward and complete my book. Good luck, MJ. You do have a great attitude.

  13. Whoa. Someone out there with the two biggest fears that I have as well? Inconceivable!

    I have a fear of failure as well for lots of the same reasons as you do. I also fear success. What if I just keep going on that first success of a published book and everything else is crap? What if everything else will never be as good as that first book?

    Oh. The pressure.

    But I will do my absolute best to continue on. We have this awesome support group now! Great post. :D