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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group - March 4, 2015

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

If, unlike me, you do not live in the Land of Oblivia, and (like me)you are, or think you may be, a writer, the first Wednesday of the month is the time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. This is the once-a-month blog hop started by Alex J. Cavanaugh .

IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click for the link).  We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy and  practical suggestions. 
Visit the site - and visit the co-hosts:
Chemist Ken,  Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!

It is time for admissions.  I've been mulling things over and maybe I can give some enjoyment and, perhaps, get some nods, if I make a confession or two.

You see, I have a fundamental problem with 'bettering' myself as a writer.  That doesn't mean I will succumb to it.  It does mean that once in a while I look up and find that pet...fear, if you like...staring me in the face.  It's like this:

We are supposed to 'hone our craft', to read books about our craft, to attend seminars regarding our craft, to participate on discussion boards centered about our craft.  We are supposed to speak knowledgeably about our craft, and use words that indicate our knowledge about our craft (you know...  The stuff that proves that you are knowledgeable): 
"Each book in the series has its own story that opens up the changes to the MC as the events of the book pertain to them.  In the first book, XX is unstoppable in his own sphere.  He is assured, capable, brilliant, unflappable...  But then a chink develops.  Someone loves him and he confesses, however fleetingly, the fear that he only admits to himself when he is drunk awake in the wee small hours of the morning with no one to hear him.  The second book sees the widening of that chink until that moment where the unstoppable, unflappable hero is brought to a standstill and realizes that it is he  who needs support and protection given by others . And the third book... well, that particular weakness is gone, but there is more.  Oh - and the megatheme that over-arches the entire trilogy is the relationship between XXX and YYY."
...And your listeners look at you and say, "Huh?" and write you off as a nut case.

All these things we are supposed to do to make ourselves better.  Listen, learn, think...  Admit it, they can be uncomfortable.

What if, for example, I crack open John Truby's book The Anatomy of Story, which I bought recently, and discover that I have been going about my writing, which I love, which gives me a reason to value myself, which has made of many a wasteland of a bad day a time of enjoyment and increase, all the wrong way, that all I do is wrong or wrong-headed or just plain stupid and inept, and I will need to scrap everything?  What if my attendance at seminars and workshops and critique groups leads me to the aghast realization that what I offer for others to read and enjoy not only will not sell, but will be judged laughable by "real" writers and thoughtful readers?

What if I conclude that I am a phony?  That I only have a dream, and that having it doesn't mean that it is any good?  What if I might as well scrap things and resign myself to holding a place in the might-have-beens?
The Tragic Fate of a Might-Have-Been
...We are, after all, talking about insecurities, right?
We can linger and peer at them and choose not to venture away from our own little patch of endeavor.  Goodness knows, the temptation is to just leave well enough alone.
The movie  Notting Hill has a moment that, for me, expresses the fear of failure:  Anna Scott, the famous star, has decided to submit an argument about why she should get the last brownie, which is supposed to be awarded to the person with the most pathetic story:

Anna: I've been on a diet every day since I was nineteen, which basically means I've been hungry for a decade. I've had a series of not-nice boyfriends, one of whom hit me. Ah, and every time I get my heart broken, the newspapers splash it about as though it's entertainment. And it's taken two rather painful operations to get me looking like this.
Honey: Really?
Anna: Really. [indicates nose and chin] And, one day, not long from now, my looks will go, they'll discover I can't act and I'll become some sad, middle-aged woman who looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while. 
The correct response to this internal dialogue is, as in the movie, 'Nice Try, Gorgeous.'  And you have a good laugh at yourself and get on with it.
That's what it's all about , isn't it?  Acknowledging your insecurities and getting on with it?  That's what we're all doing.
In fact, Truby's book is interesting and while I'm learning from it, I'm also nodding my head and saying, 'Yep.  I'm doing that.  Good to know!'  And I'm looking for a seminar or two to go to.
Now excuse me.  I have a megatheme to scrutinize. 


  1. Agreed Diana. Thankfully, there is no right or wrong way to be a writer and hone your craft. To be a writer you have to write. Everyday! Period. That's it. Having a community for support is also important. *Thanks Alex*
    Unfortunately, being a writer makes you a bizarre creature. We are either the best or the worst. One day we're drunk with power thinking we're magicians, the next we're curled up in ball under our beds in shame. Man, do I relate to this post!

  2. Wonderful admissions, Diana! I empathise. Sometimes when I've read books and done courses they've left me completely steeped in self-doubt. However, I have to say, I think I've taken away something of benefit from each and every one. It's healthy to admit our negative feelings about these things, and as you say, get on with it!

  3. Sometimes I fear that all this "honing our craft" gets in the way of writing and listening to our inner voice. And sometimes participating in all of these things gets us so busy we don't write! I think you have the right idea ~ just push those insecurities aside and get on with it! Good luck with your writing!

  4. Hi Diana, I don't think at the end of the day it matters if anyone isn't as great as they think they are. The fun is in the process - and as long as the writer is getting something positive from doing it, then that has got to be a good thing :)
    Co-Host March IWSG :)

  5. Cruising through the ISWG posting today - I think you're absolutely right on all counts.

    I teach a little art class for homeschoolers and every time I tell them a "rule" I always add this statement:

    "For every rule you learn in art, there's someone who became ridiculously famous for never following that rule."

  6. I think you've said what all of us have thought in one way or another. We want validation from readers as well as from books that we hope well tell us that we are doing thing right or at least guide us in the proper direction.

    I've got a shelf full of books about writing, few which I've actually read. A writer stepping into my office might be impressed by this collection, but it's done me little good so far. I write and hope that someday my writing will amount to something.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  7. Do what makes you happy, and it sounds like that is what you do. The addition of the Notting Hill scene here, really brought ti home to me for some reason. It's not just writing, we are all insecure about whatever we do. Too bad we all just can't enjoy the ride. Looking forward to seeing what you’ll be posting in April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

  8. "Happily ever after starts here." Yes!

    What a great post. I agree on all counts, and its nice to know I'm not alone. Best of luck with that megatheme.

  9. Hi Diana - Cherdo seems to have the idea .. if we don't write we'll never achieve - as they say action and doing, learn on the side ... and don't worry too much re rules - they are made to be broken after all ... not always, but quite often if we feel it suits.

    Cheers Hilary