Insecure Writer’s Support Group – February 5, 2013

Today is the first  Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers’ Support Group (click the words to visit)

We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy or practical suggestions. 

“Odd creatures, writers…”

Today I would like to address a concern that just about every writer I have ever known shares.  It is something that haunts our dreams, something that dictates our actions, something that makes our loved ones look at us with one eyebrow raised and extremely quizzical expressions, as though they  have just turned over a rock and seen something truly strange come scuttling out.

The way writers view their words

I am speaking of the terror we feel when we are nowhere near anything that can capture our precious, priceless words as they spring fully armed to our heads, rather like Athene in the old Greek legends.

We have various ways of combating that terror.  Some people carry around notebooks, some use a permutation of a Dictaphone, garnering stares from people who find the spectacle of someone yakking into a box rather diverting in an odd fashion.

Wine stain in left-most towel

There are jotters of all types.  Some jotters never carry around anything upon which they can jot, and are reduced to scribbling on the backs of grocery receipts (those that don’t have advertisements and offers on the back), voided checks, toilet paper (they seldom do that twice unless they are in a public toilet in France where, I am convinced, the TP is made of recycled chain mail.  Or, perhaps, barbed wire.  But then the problem of with what to write arises).  Some of us use paper towels.  I confess to that silliness…  

So what do you do if you accidentally use your deathless words to mop up spilled red wine (see above)?

Wow!  Alas!  Phooey!

Most people use notebooks.  I certainly do.  At any moment I have about four going.  I start out with a dedicated notebook for each story.   Unfortunately, I may pack the notebook for my French story and instead get an idea for the Egyptian story I’m fiddling with at the moment.  What to do?  Snatch a piece of toilet paper (which means I get to travel to France!) and hope I don’t blow my nose on it?  Nah.  I write in the incorrect notebook and make a mental note that the deathless scene is in it.

Of course, then I mis-file my mental note and bewail my fate and mourn the loss of my deathless words.

It’s always a puzzlement…  (I have to bring Yul Brynner in this somehow.

Well, it’s one of those conditions that few of us have conquered. for myself, if (I say IF) I become famous, my descendants will not have to starve in the streets or work in a sweat shop or kow-tow to people who have no more qualification for leading people than silverfish.  And who are, perhaps, less beautiful than silverfish.   (I was going to post a photo of a silverfish here, but after looking them over I decided that I’d rather chew my fingernails.)

What to do?  Well, like many of our insecurities, I just live with it.  I have actually found, when I have located my deathless words, once lost, that they weren’t all that great after all, and what I actually wrote in desperation, just knowing that the story would be ruined – simply ruined! – actually were more fully formed, satisfying and colorful than what I thought I’d lost.

…but without insecurities, would we be real writers?


This is a blog hop with lots of good participation.  Go forth and read!

2 comments on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group – February 5, 2013

  1. Lara Lacombe says:

    I never did get started with notebooks, but I feel like I should. I usually obsessively repeat the words/idea/whatever to fix it in my brain until I can sit down and do it justice. But I have been known to write on the odd bit of paper towel… 🙂

  2. I love Athena leaping from Zeus's head as a metaphor for our writing. I too carry around at least five note books at a time, each for different projects, and anxiously scribble in them. I believe there are writers out there who are blessedly free of insecurities. They just aren't very interesting or good.

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