The biggest insecurity that there is is- what if nobody reads me.
Followed by- what if nobody likes what they read.
And then- what if I don’t like what I am writing.
Or worse- what if my story is great, but my characters fall flat.
And then- what if nobody publishes me (Amazon has sorted that for you, you can self publish).
I came across a new kind of insecurity the other day. I had committed to reviewing a new author’s book sometime ago and due to the lack of certainty (COVID), my plan fell apart. I focused much more on scrambling to get revenues back on track than on other items on my to do. The writer friend called me out on that and said that he had begun to feel that his writing was so shoddy, that it couldn’t even get a review.
Writers are humans after all. There is nothing that we will not second guess about ourselves. We might churn out the best content and then wonder why don’t people like it. It is probably because the right people haven’t seen it yet. But of course, it could also serve as an opportunity to do better with your writing.
As writers we are insanely self critical.
That said, there are a few ways to manage them. Insecurity is the death of originality. You might suddenly start feeling compelled to pick up an idea that has worked well in your genre and create some repetitive story around the same. The story could be good, but it wouldn’t be all that you had to give.
- Communities are the best. When you are feeling disheartened with your own work, read somebody else’s and don’t pick up a John Keats! Go through your Instagram and search for #writingprompts or #writingcommunity and just read what comes up. As you appreciate what everybody else is putting up there, you will eventually come back with new ideas for your own. And you will realise that you rock too!
- Feedback circles aren’t like communities. Make it a quid pro quo. Pair up or team up with a bunch of writers who you don’t know. Again use Instagram or Twitter to find them and create an honest feedback circle. Set down rules for sharing feedback. A writer gets to share their story and ask for feedback only if they share feedback about another’s work. No below the belt comments, just common sensical stuff that only another writer can point out.
- Get away from those words. This helps. Go workout. Go for a walk. Go do whatever it is that you need to do to stretch your mind. I have a mid-day meditation practice carved out for me at 12 noon. These 20 minutes I snooze my active brain and just let the thoughts come. Then I make myself a cup of black coffee and get back to my laptop.
Insecurities are crippling. It’s good to be part of a community that is going through similar mumbo jumbo and have worked through them already. Be a brave writer. Write what you think the world needs to hear. Write what works for you.
In your mind- fix your target audience and give it all you have.
My target audience- people who find healing and meaning in written words. For everything that you read from me, for every piece that heals some part of you, something broke in me to get those answers.