Once again it’s time for a round of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). Every month writers from across the virtual world get together and commiserate about their insecurities, expressing their fears so they, we, can move on and write. If you’d like to join in the fun, click on the picture above.
Now on to my own insecurity. A couple of weeks agoI was informed that my entry in The RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest was a finalist in the Mainstream Category. When I saw the email, I was whooping and hollering, repeating “oh my God” over and over as I read. (I always turn in to a thirteen-year-old whenever I hear good news) 🙂 Anyways, the news was fabulous and spurred me on in my current revisions of said project. Good, right?
It is, it really is, but…Doubt has begun creeping in. Doubt accompanied by that old nemesis of mine – fear.
What am I afraid of?
All of it.
What if it’s not good enough? What if the agent who judges my entry, hates it? What if I’m out of my league?
And then there’s the flip side. What if it’s good? What if people actually expect more out of me? What if I can’t finish? What if…? What if…?
I keep reminding myself of all the good in this small victory, and, yet I know the road I’m on has merely begun.
Where will this writing road take me? Will I ever really accomplish what I want to accomplish?
I’ve discovered those questions are really at the heart of my fear, and so I sit down and write. I know I’ll never know what can happen unless I try. But sometimes the voice settles in on my shoulders. It curls around the back side of my neck, and it blows on the hairs back there, whispering those fears in every breath.
What I want to know is this: does anyone else hear those whispered what ifs? How do you deal with it?
I can totally relate to turning into a thirteen year old when you get good news – I’m exactly the same. And wow!!!! What awesome news. I can understand your fear, but look at what you’ve achieved – so much more than many of the other entrants. Lock that fear up in a cupboard and dance around the room for a bit longer…. go on, right now! 🙂
Dancing sounds good right now. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!
What if my publisher hates my sequel? What if he likes it, but nobody else does? What if I run out of stories? What if my computer dies? What if this toothache never stops and I am unable to write again?
Kim, I think our whisperers are related.
It sounds like they are. Perhaps whisperers from another mother? 🙂
I completely get this fear. Both sides of it. We really are insecure creatures aren’t we? What do we do about it? Keep on writing. It’s the only thing we can do. Keep putting one writing foot in front of the other, acknowledge and share that fear so we can slap it down with you to a manageable size and keep on going. Because we love it and we can’t help it.
Slapping the fears sounds like a definite plan, oh, and the butt in seat thing is good too. 🙂 Thanks for the congratulations! After posting about it and getting a lot of well wishes, I’m getting excited all over again. 🙂
Kim, I hear those voices all the time. Sometimes they whisper. Sometimes they shout. You have to find a way to tell them to go away. You have to learn to distinguish those voices from the whispers of Spirit. Congrats on being a finalist. That is truly wonderful and is a victory even if you don’t win.
You’re right about needing to distinguish a difference between those types of voices. Thank you!
First of all, just keep writing! No matter what happens, good or bad, your writing will continue to improve as you practice the craft. Be proud of what you accomplish now, and no you are on a never ending road. It’s got twists and turns, sure, but the view is wonderful. Congrats, too!
Thank you! I will keep writing. Butt in chair solves everything, right? 🙂
Tell that little voice to shut it! Keep writing. Keep moving forward. You will never know what you can accomplish if you don’t try! Believe it! Do it!
Thank you for the words of encouragement! Shut up sounds like a perfect reply for those voices. 😉
First, congratulations on having your work recognized!
I think writers who ask “what if” questions can come up with the most creative stories. So asking “what if” is what writers naturally do! =) When you start to feel overwhelmed by the “what ifs,” just gently remind yourself to enjoy the moment.
Sage advice, Cynthia. I do tend to agree with that, actually. I just get skittish at times. Thank you for commenting! 🙂
I tend to not get those “what ifs.” My thing is my thing, and I’m most concerned with how I like it. If I like it, I don’t tend to worry about other people so much.
It’s good to be confident, but I agree with Cynthia about the power of a certain amount of anxiety or questioning. To each their own, I guess. Thanks for commenting!
Be proud that you were selected! A lot of people never make it that far. It’s crazy how we get so excited about hitting a milestone and then talk ourselves out of the momentousness of that moment by letting that old insecurity monster whisper in our ears!
Very true. Insecurity really is one of the most powerful things that comes with success and failure. Thank you!
Congratulations! Making it as far as you have is a tremendous accomplishment. Oh yes, I get those little nagging whispers. Funny how we can fear our own success. Just remember that you’re worth it. 🙂
Thank you! Getting through it is probably also great practice if I’m going to keep putting myself out there. I must be a masochist. (Anyone else thinking 50 Shades of Writer?) 🙂
Congratulations on being a finalist! Enjoy it. And good luck at the conference. 🙂
Thank you, L.G. My fingers, toes, eyes, etc…are all currently crossed. Too much? 🙂
Just stopping by from the IWSG to say Hi
WOW! CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂
Youre definitely not alone in feeling that way honey.
Good luck xx
Thank you! If I have to live with anxiety, it’s good to know I’m in the company of other writers. 🙂
What if people expect more? I know that fear. They will. But know if you’ve done it once, you can do it again.
And yes, the journey has just begun. Now, remember to enjoy it.
Thanks, Alex! You’re right about enjoying it. I guess I need to learn to live with simultaneous anxiety and excitement. Luckily, I’ve been in training for that all my life. 🙂
The good news is even if the agent “hates” it, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just one person’s opinion, and lots of books got rejected before going on to be successful. The bad news is that fear never goes away. Any time an artist, filmmaker, singer or writer puts their work out there, they’re nervous and scared. The only thing to do is keep going. And with that — you’re doing great! 🙂
Thanks, Lex! I try. And on days when it becomes to much, I read instead. 🙂
Huge congrats… so excited for you. I’m always doing ‘what if’ even when things are going well. It’s my inner critique. You just have to push it back and ignore those what ifs:)
Thanks, T.F.! I’m hoping my skill at ignoring those whispered critiques get better. Practice, right?