Insecure Writers Support Group January 2016

Today is IWSG day, the first of 2016.


You can join Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the other writers who support each other, make us all smile and think in this monthly hop.
No one is mocked or sneered at.  All are welcome.  We have all been there:

First of all, congratulations to the writers selected for the anthology!  It should be really good! 
And…using this as a segue to my Insecure Writerly post…you are all so very very lucky that I didn’t submit for it because I am such a truly fabulous writer, one of you poor folks would have been bumped out of your slot! 

I would never say that, of course.  Based on my observations, it would not necessarily have been true.  But the notion does touch upon a strange contradiction I’ve seen in myself and in other writers.  I’d call it the ‘Rather Odd Dichotomy of Abyssmal/Sublime’.

Don’t we all think, in our heart of hearts, that we are really good, heartfelt, talented, gifted, sincere and dedicated creative writers?  I don’t know if I’d phrase it that way, exactly, but I think somewhere deep down we all think we’re really good.  We have The Gift.  We can Tell Stories That Enthrall.  (Well, they enthrall me, at any rate). 

But, really, think about it.  You all know you’re good and gifted. 

And yet at the same time, we just know that if we put our precious creations out there, they will be ripped to shreds and somehow, in some weird way, we think that maybe, just maybe, we deserve it.


Okay, that’s weird.  But – and here is my deep, dark secret that I am offering up – I find myself goofing off, checking eBay, looking at the news, following links to interesting places, fiddling with Pinterest—

Hold on, you say, what’s wrong with that? 

Well, because I have sat down (hundreds of times) with an idea for a scene that I am going to write, by golly.  Most recently, it’s two chapters, to be salted in my WIP, that introduce a new angle to the conflict that the character is having, and heightens the element of danger.  I jotted my thoughts, blocked some things out, got some feedback from a friend who is perhaps the best, most honest editor I’ve ever had.  It’ll make the story flow, it had scope for humor and danger and a touch of intrigue – Who IS that fellow??? – and I sat down, fiddled with Pinterest and GOGMSITE. (I digress here for a moment: anyone who writes historical fiction with a European slant and is interested in researching female costume/fashion should visit  It is a wonderful resource, full of images and run by someone who needs to be awarded something. Perhaps being named ‘Dame of the Empire’ or something.)

So…  Did I write the scene?  Well, I did crank out a page once I looked at the clock and squawked.  But I could have written the whole thing and fiddled with it the next day.  And I didn’t.  Why not?

Well, maybe because that would bring me closer to finishing the thing and having to show it to people who might laugh at it or pull it apart or sneer at it, or something.  …and maybe they would be right?

Does that lie at the bottom of our shyness?  That while we know we have The Gift, we fear that it won’t be obvious to others.  Or they will rip us to shreds?  Or sneer at our work?

 But, truly, how often has that happened?  How often have we done our best and had it destroyed by criticism?  For me, at least, not often.  I’ve had some pointed suggestions, some observations ‘You know, you use a lot of sentence fragments…  It does tend to divert the reader from the flow of the story…’

I don’t do that to others, and I only had one person do that to me.  She was in Preditors and Editors as an ‘Avoid at All Costs’.  Based on my information from the post office, she opened my envelope, scrawled a note on the manuscript I’d sent for her review, and stuffed it back in the mail within half an hour of receiving it.  Everyone else has been constructive, if somewhat stern.  Stern is nice.

I’ll be on the internet this evening reading Insecure Writer Posts.  Then I’ll spit out that chapter, which will bring me closer to finishing the WIP.  I will start sounding people out for beta-reads.

There.  That wasn’t too hard.   (I feel so much better!)