Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecurities Exchange

InsecureWritersSupportGroupAlex J. Cavanaugh, author of CassaStar started this wonderful thing called the Insecure Writers' Support Group.  The idea is that we all need someone to lean on from time to time.  Some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by fellow writers, be it in college, a literary-related job, or just the bookworm-stuffed coffee house downtown.  For the rest of us, though, this group is pretty much all we’ve got.

My main problem, I suppose, is not so much my ability to write, but my ability to stand by it.  In other words, I think my writing’s pretty good.  Difficulties arise, though, when it comes time for me to defend my work, or worse, “sell” it.  Giving out my work is the hardest thing to do, and when my prospective beta-readers blow it off, or forget about it, or otherwise ignore it, I can’t help but feel that my writing is crap.  No one’s come out and said point blank that it sucks, and I know most people just don’t read these days, and for every “blow-off” I usually three or four positive responses.  Still, I can’t shake the negative feelings I get when faced with less-than-enthusiasm.

Ultimately, I just have to learn that words are what’s important, not the approval of others.  Obviously, writers write to read, and without readers, what’s the point of us?  More important than even reader, though, are the words themselves, and if I let my insecurities psych me into not writing in the first place, then I’ve truly lost.


  1. I've run into critique partner issues. I would pose questions or areas of concern for my partners to focus on. Then they would return with a few sentences of feedback at best. I kept with it a few more times and then realized they weren't providing me with what I needed to improve. I moved on. Sometimes it take a while to find a partner(s) you not only click with, but also provide valuable feedback.

  2. Finding crit partners is hard, but when you find the right ones, it's great. It's not personal, it's just all about the words.

    We're all insecure as writers, and I know how hard it can get sometimes, dealing with self doubt, but you pull through.

    You have to. Because we love what we do.

  3. You need to find just the right partners, ones who give honest and detailed feedback. I got lucky in that all three of mine rock.
    Believe in yourself, man!

  4. I've often found that non-writers make the best beta readers. Find good readers, not necessarily writers. You, as a writer, don't need someone to give you the answers on how to fix your book. You're perfectly capable of doing that (and that's what editors are supposed to help you with). Readers simply need the criticality and perspective to point out the glaring questions that you left unanswered.

    Of course, you could just follow my personal rule on readers: find kind, honest people who will want to have a conversation with you about your book, preferably over pizza and booze.

  5. I was going to say what Alex said. You need to find the right beta readers, because there are a LOT of people who would read for you!

    I'm a co-organizer of WriteOnCon, and we have forums where people can look for beta readers. You should check it out, if you have the time/inclination:

  6. I agree - keep trying new beta readers, keep reminding them if they don't get back to you quickly, keep submitting your writing. It's hard, and I struggle with it too - but it's important, and it matters!

    And it's so nice to meet you, fellow campaigner!