I Joined the Insecure Writers Support Group

My first thought upon finding this was, There's a support groupAnd then I thought, Finally!

Writers are a peculiar breed. (I've always been peculiar, but now that I've figured out I'm a writer, I have a reason for it.) Writing is, after all, a lonely profession. It's just you and the keyboard, and that little voice inside you.

Some days, that voice is kind and encouraging. Other days ... Well ...

I talk with other writers frequently and I've discovered that a lot of us suffer from the same  issues that stem from insecurity.

We're our own harshest critics. Half-way through the manuscript for Ghostwriter, I wanted to scrap it. I can remember sitting there at the keyboard, chastising myself:"This sucks. No one i ever going to want to read this crap. What made you think you could write a book, anyway?"

One of my fanfiction stories has seven thousand reviews. Five of them were mean. Guess which ones I have memorized? My friends and family have praised my writing, but that little voice says to me they're just "being nice." And so were those 6,995 reviewers.

This is why it's helpful to put your writing aside for a while and then go back and read it like a stranger would, not looking for flaws, but just enjoying the story. I've gone back to some of my stories and said, "Hey, this isn't bad!" That's a good feeling. I've also gone back and said, "Oh, lord, what was I thinking?" but this is good, too. It shows how far I've come, how much I've learned.

And there's another aspect of being your own harshest critic that's positive: it makes you want to work harder to improve. The key is giving yourself credit when you do.

Writing is part of our soulsEven if our work is fictional, there's tiny bits of ourselves stirred within. I don't think a writer can help it. We get our inspiration from life experiences and that makes it personal in a way that's difficult for a non-writer to understand. Though I don't do it personally, many people write as a form of therapy, exorcising their demons with paper and ink. Whatever the reason, it sometimes feels like cracking open your head and inviting people to root around in your brain.

It ties in with the fear of failure. Because if our writing is from the heart and people think it's terrible, they think we're terrible. That's why it's often so difficult to take that first step in sharing what we've written.

But we have to find that courage. That's what art is all about, after all. It's human emotion and thought translated into a visual or audio medium. It's that personal aspect which makes it art instead of just a consumer product. And like all art, your words will not speak to everyone.  Accepting that sounds so simple, but it can be very difficult.

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