In Which I Confess I’m Insecure


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants.

——

I signed up on this group when it started, and got kicked out due to non-participation. I simply didn’t post, so the kicking was justified. Somehow, after the first post, I lost steam. I try not to whine on my blog, and this group seemed to require me to whine.

A few months down the line, I’ve realized that if there is one thing about writers, it is that they’re insecure. Even the best writers are– and a look at some of the writers in the 200-0dd IWSG list validates this.

So maybe, it is okay to let my insecurities show once a month. After all, accepting that I have a problem is the first step towards solving it. (I’m well aware that insecurity in a writer is like vanity in a model, it will never quite go away.)

My current fear is I won’t be able to finish my first ever novel. I’ve been afraid of novels for as long as I’ve been writing. I’ve had several short stories published, dozens of them finished, and hundreds of pieces of flash fiction written, but I never quite gathered the courage to commit to a novel.

Well, now I have. And now that I’m in the twelfth chapter, I sometimes find myself paralyzed with panic. This book can’t possibly land on its feet after its gargantuan leap of faith. It is going to plummet into that abyss full of half-formed, shapeless things that perish without seeing the light of day. Unseen, unheard. Only I’ll mourn its aborted attempt at life.

I’m using this panic to jump-start my writing each morning, and hoping it would fuel the neurotic dash to the end of the next scene, the next chapter. By noon, I’ve calmed myself to a certain extent, and written 500 words or so. Sometimes that takes evening, or even night. At night the panic begins again: what if morning brings no new words, what if my characters pull a fast one again?

Swimming against the odds

Swimming against the odds

So far, I’ve given up once at 5 chapters– junked it all, and begun again. Now despite the panic, I have to hit the finish line.

I managed to learn swimming after more than three decades of being afraid of water.  I can do this. Amen.

 

 

 

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37 thoughts on “In Which I Confess I’m Insecure

  1. Pingback: A Letter to IWSG | Writing, Reading, and Life

  2. Hey – you will do it. If I did anyone can. The worst part is editing an re-writing and then throwing it to the wolves. But I remind myself (in these groups) that I’m not alone in thses issues/worries. It’s all part of the profession. Great to meet you. :)

  3. I know that feeling. Am experiencing it with my one WIP I’m working on. It’s a sequel and I keep getting hung up on it not being as good as the first. That’s despite a friend reading the first draft and saying it’s just as good of a story.

  4. First of all I have to mention that this group is not just about insecurities, it is also about encouragement and support! Just jump and fall where you may. Always nice to meet another struggling author. that’s what we do, right?

  5. You don’t have to “whine” on IWSG posts or even talk about your own insecurities. You can offer encouragement, advice and support. You’re doing great! :-)

  6. Yes, you can do it. It may take you a thousand tries, like Thomas Edison and the light bulb. But when you finish, your novel could very well change the world. Think big, right? :)

  7. Cory Doctorow suggests ending your day’s work in the middle of a sentence and you’ll know exactly where to pick up the next day. Leave when you’re on a high, but haven’t completed a thought. The new words will start flowing. I haven’t tried this method… yet. :) The important thing is to write. Even if it’s crap, which I’ve done plenty of times. It gets words down on paper – you can always go back and fix them, cut them, later. Don’t stop. Just keep pushing ahead toward your ending.

    • I do that! And it works…but only to a certain extent. Basically my monkey mind does all its jumping around and checking on shiny new things offline and online– and I have to figure out a way each day to quieten it down and focus on the story because the story itself is difficult, sometimes even abhorrent and painful to my real self. But my writer self won’t let go. Sigh.

    • Lyndal, we’ll both do it. The insecurity birds never leave do they? They wait on our shoulders to swoop in and deal a blow. Let’s ignore them, and take away their talons.

  8. Let’s start a club! Like you I have novels started, but have yet to finish. I know some of the problem and must force myself to resolve it.

    I don’t think of IWSG as whining as much as I do working out unresolved issues and things that I struggle with that are probably much like other writers do as well.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    • I have one unfinished novel, and one that I’m working on. Let’s make a pact– we’ll keep asking each other, ‘Are you done yet?’ about a WIP till we finish it! :)

  9. Not to be redundant, but you can do it! My rule for writing might help. NEVER edit while writing. You aren’t allowed to go back and change anything. Just keep swimming, errr… I mean writing! :) It will be worth it. No book is perfect the first time and that’s what revising is for. Finish it first and worry about it being edited later.

  10. It will be worth the effort when you get it done. And I’m sure you can do it. But if you love writing short stories and are clearly very good at it, why not write short stories? I love short stories. I don’t think there’s any requirement to write a novel.

    • I hope it’ll be worth the effort. I didn’t want to write a novel. But the characters kept popping up in my flash pieces, and when I sat down to write their story, it wouldn’t fit in a few thousand words. So I had to give in and attempt a novel.

  11. Damyanti, you are a natural writer and I have no doubt that you’ll complete your novel. The thought of writing an entire book is daunting… actually, it’s terrifying… I think it has to be approached one step at a time…

    • Yay– ‘natural writer’ sounds good! That is what friends are for, Michelle– to tell us we’re good lol. Thankyou! I’m terrified, but also unrelenting. I’ll finish this novel or die trying. Wait, was that too dramatic? :)

  12. I don’t think it is so much about whining as sharing fears that we all really have and saying to each other “That scares you too? Let’s go for it anyway.” In a sense it seems like dividing the burden.

    I’m glad you learned to swim, and I am glad you write because that is how we met and you’ve inspired me often.

  13. You can do this! Our demons plague us the m ost the closer we are to our goals. I hope I can overcome my own fears and learn to swim. i can’t even float. I admire you for doing that.

  14. It is tough to write one paragraph, but to try for an entire book is terrifying. Somehow I’ve done two. I have no idea how I actually did that. It takes a lot of patience and courage. You can do it! Just keep on typing. :D From a fellow IWSG member!

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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