by Lynda R Young
Step One: Don’t Deny the Insecurities.
Every writer, new to established, has felt insecurities about their writing. Accept this is going to happen to you too. Don’t punish yourself for feeling the urge to quit, the urge to weep, to shout and pout and everything in between. Feel these things—privately—and get them out of your system. If you bottle up the emotions and hide them in a dark place, then the problem will only fester and grow.
Step Two: Find Support.
Most writers will agree with me: Writing isn’t easy. Every part of the process has the potential to be painful—from the idea to a finished manuscript, from the querying or formatting to the published book. The way is littered with stumbling blocks which will snag our doubts. We need support to keep us strong and focused.
While family and friends can be a great support, a writer needs the kind of encouragement and understanding only other writers can offer. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a fabulous group for this and we even have a Facebook group for fast feedback, whether you need genuine cheers, a shoulder to cry on, or helpful advice. There is no such thing as having too much support too, so connect with other writers at conferences and workshops, and join a writing group in your local area.
Step Three: Adjust Your Approach.
Insecurities are all too often perceived as a weakness. It’s why we so often shy from them or hide them. If, however, we change our thinking, and embrace a more positive approach toward any reservations we might have toward our writing, then the power they once had over us will lessen.
Insecurities flare when we’re focusing in the wrong place. They act as a great reminder when we’re caught up in the negatives when we should be celebrating the positives. Every milestone in the writing dream should be noted, shared, and celebrated.
Insecurities are a watchdog against an inflated ego. The ego tells us our work is pure gold, we don’t need to go to workshops or find critique partners, and everyone will love our stories. Insecurities remind us we can’t please everyone and, while we won’t ever reach perfection in our writing, there’s always more to learn. Even the very best writers need critique partners and beta readers.
Insecurities remind us why we write. It’s easy to get loaded down in the hard slog of writing and polishing a manuscript. We forget far too quickly how much we love to write. When the hardship hits us, we’re forced to remember why we started writing in the first place.
Insecurities teach us to appreciate the craft. Without our uncertainties, we’re more likely to dream of those publishing unicorns and rainbows, and expect to climb to the bestseller lists without pouring our all into the effort. We need our insecurities to truly understand what it takes to get published and stay published.
Insecurities tell us that near enough isn’t good enough. When I get to the end of a manuscript, I’m bored of editing and just want to start sending it out…then those little doubts start nibbling at the corner of my mind. I want to ignore them because I’m eager to move on to the next project. Sound familiar? Our insecurities are often just what we need to give our manuscripts one more round of edits. It could make the difference between rejection and a contract.
You have writing insecurities? Great! That makes you normal. Now go write!
What helps you to turn insecurities into strengths? How have your support groups helped? How do your insecurities keep you going?
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Photo by Lynda R Young. Sapling on the beach, somewhere on the Australian coast between Sydney and Melbourne.