Wednesday, January 2, 2013

IWSG: Be a Friend and Love a Writer

Happy New Year. It's time for the monthly post of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. IWSG is the wonderful brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Its purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of feeling foolish or weak.

I joined this group because I always feel pretty foolish or weak. Especially when I get around a bunch of writers who have more experience than I do. I mentioned in my previous post that I'm totally out of my element now that I've sold a novella, and expected to promote myself and blog with a few other authors. Mandatory blogging! arghhhh! Yes, I understand the concept of promoting our series and each other, but I find it frightening. Today was my first day. Blogging from the POV of a cursed doll--a character in our Oklahoma Romance Writers series called Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll sounds easy; seems fun, but I can't help comparing myself and my writing, my thoughts, to the other more experienced authors. How do we keep from doing that without holing up in a vacuum of sorts and keeping our nose to the computer keys. I'm horrible at looking at other writers, their accomplishments, their advice, and feeling dumb. In fact, I had to back away from some of my online groups because several of the very active members spoke and posted with such authority, their advice and comments so black and white, that I was certain I knew next to nothing. Their confidence, along with their 'my way or the highway' attitude intimidated me.

Several years ago, I decided to work on my insecurities: I became president of my writing group and  got more involved than I could have imagined. I joined a Toastmasters club too. I spoke a few times to other writer's groups and this year was given the ultimate compliment when asked to replace a conference speaker who canceled. I've forced myself to do things that scared me, trying to prove to myself that I CAN stand next to the more successful writers without feeling like a nothing/nobody.

Unfortunately, since moving to Oklahoma, knowing only one person here, it has been easy to fall back on self-doubt and wrap it tightly around me. I catch myself questioning every move I make, second guessing myself--even when I'm alone writing, or about to comment on some one's blog. Or post on my own.

I know how to cure self-doubt and insecurity: By forcing myself to do things that scare me. By getting involved with other writers. By jumping in head first with my own thoughts and opinions. By totally ignoring those who criticize in a non-productive way. By realizing and accepting that I have experiences and opinions too, and they matter! By encouraging others. By giving to others. By writing and living my dream.

Are you continously wrestling with self-doubt and insecurity? How do you deal with it? Any tips for those of us who feel foolish and weak 95% of the time? Thanks for visiting and offering words of encouragement. I believe that's something every writer needs ALL the time.


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

It's easy to say 'don't compare yourself to others!' It's much, much harder to actually do. Just remember, you wouldn't be part of that group if you weren't good, right?! Try not to be hard on yourself. :)

Ravena Guron said...

Because YES I am wrestling with self doubt I don't really have any good advice. But I deal with it by trying to accept that I need to work with myself, and use my self doubts to keep me going. Nothing works better for me than trying to overcome them, with baby steps.

It seems you already know what to do, and you seem to be doing a good job of it! Keep it going! :)

Jan Newman said...

Jess, you are so much better than you know/think you are. Happy new year.

Tonja said...

I think we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. At least I have to.

But I think it's better to steer clear of people that make us feel bad. If they act that confident, they're faking it. No writer is that confident. Better to hang out with people who are compassionate and sincere.

Charles Gramlich said...

My doubts have changed over the years. I don't doubt that I can write a decent story anymore. I doubt that I can get it out there in a way that will appeal to an audience, and I doubt my ability to connect to people well in this modern world. I often feel like a fish out of water in the new electronic age.

Jamie Gibbs said...

A very small amount of insecurity can be useful to keep us grounded, but it can get the better of us. I think you're doing the right thing by pushing out of your comfort zone, so keep it up :)

Jamie Gibbs
IWSG co-host
Mithril Wisdom

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't do that in the real world, but I did get involved online.
And I'm sure there are a lot of things you know more about than other authors, myself included. Heck, I'm just here for the ride.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I think you have a great way of dealing with insecurity - just pushing past it. That's the method I use too, and it's the one that works. Tackling fear head on seems to be the only way to beat it.
Best of wishes in beating your insecurities!!!!

Mollye said...

Hi Sweetness...Thanks for visiting at Jake's Story. I just made the decision to get back to blogging and have updated a few of them. I'm so proud of you in your writing and admire you tremendously. I love to write and never take the step to do more than write for my own pleasure and family. Happy New Year to you!

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Rachel - aren't we always our own worst enemy? :) I know I am!

Ravena- Baby steps is the key.

Jan - you're prejudice and I love you for it! I hope 2013 is a great year for both of us and SLR.

Tonja - That comfort zone gets me every time! I agree: steer clear of balloon poppers!

Charles - I think it's interesting how we evolve and change over the years. While I've gained confidence in some areas, I've become more vulnerable in others.

Jamie - thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I never want to appear over confident. That's a sure way for me to fall on my face.

Alex - The ride is what's fun!

Tyrean - I don't always tackle fear head on. Sometimes I run!

Mollye - thanks so much for coming over to visit me. You're in my thoughts, sweet lady. And that you're writing for your own pleasure means you're enjoying the process more than the rest of us. :) Hope your new year is blessed.

Ciara said...

I think everyone struggles with self-doubt and insecurities. You are one brave person to become president of your group. That alone tells me you are going places.
Happy 2013!!

Ghadeer said...

You're right- the best way to deal with it is facing your fears.