Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: September 2012

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, September 2012 edition! Wow. Where has the year been going?

For those few of you out in the blogosphere who don't know of Alex J. Cavanaugh (and if you don't, I suspect you must be living under a rock), he is the ninja responsible for this remarkable support group.  As writers, we need a community we can turn to for guidance and discussion.  I have many supportive friends and family members who are there for me, but most people don't understand all the insecurities that a writer faces on a daily basis.  That's why it's so essential to have a place like this to air our concerns and frustrations.

Normally I would do a separate Wednesday post, but I've been busy, so I'll have this count as my normal Wednesday post as well.  After all, it's my blog and I'll do what I want to!

Before I indulge in my current insecurity, I want to take a look at what's been going well.  The past month has been a good one for me in terms of blogging.  

  • I had 1,488 page views for the month of August.  That may not be anything even remotely resembling celebrity status,  but it is a new monthly record for me.  This makes it worth mentioning for me.  
  • I also gained 14 new followers, which puts me up to 134.  I have a long way to go, but considering I only started blogging this past January, I don't think that's too bad.  
  • In August, I also wrote 7 new flash fiction pieces, one of which I submitted to a magazine.  It was ultimately rejected, but I've chosen to take it in stride.  It always does wound the ego a little bit, but it's also an unavoidable part of the literary life.  Writers wear rejection letters as battle wounds.
  • I also planned out my writing goals for the next 5 years.
This last point is, by far, most daunting part of what I've done in the past month. My 5 year plan details what I want to write and submit for publication.  It's basically my plan of attack for crawling to the moon (see THIS POST to see what this reference means).  Believe me, I have enough WIPs to keep me busy for the next 5 years, so the 5 year plan may not be as unrealistic as it sounds.

Now I must proceed with the first step in my grand master plan.  As I've mentioned here before, I plan to self-publish Prices Paid sometime in November.  It's a compilation of short stories that I've written since I embarked on this blogging adventure.  I have a lot of work ahead of me to get it done in time, but I have a list of all the pieces I want to use and a timeline for writing and revising that should keep me on track.  I just have to use my new level of determination to make it to the finish line.

Why November?  Well, I started blogging at the beginning of the year, so it would be nice to accomplish such a large goal before the year is over.  Besides, a lot of people think the world is going to end in December of this year.  I certainly don't believe that's the case. I mean, the Mayan calendar had to end at some point, right?  Still, why not use whatever excuse I can to push myself?  It just might be good for me in the end.

Of course, there are the corresponding insecurities.  Once I put my work out there, it's out there.  People will critique it.  Some will inevitably hate it.  After all, you can't please everyone.  The bad reviews will come, and I'm concerned about how I will handle them.  At least a bad review means someone has read my work, but that knowledge probably won't make it sting any less.  Words are powerful.  We writers depend on that fact to do what we do.  The words we write have power, but so do the ones that others write about us.  The words of others can impact both sales and self-confidence.

After all, the things we write are quite personal to us.  My writing springs from my deepest fears and dreams.  My stories are born out of a need to say something important, and I feel so close to the material that a criticism of it can feel like a criticism of me.  This is something I've been working on by posting my work on this blog.  I'm trying to develop that thick skin writer's so desperately need, but I don't want to seem so indifferent to the opinions of others that I come across as arrogant.  I fear that people mistake that thick skin as arrogance a lot, and I don't want that to be the way people see me.

So far, I think I've done okay with the critiques I've received so far, but I worry it'll be different once I've published my book.  Once it's published, it's out there in the world that a blog post isn't.  A blog post can be easily edited and deleted. A published book is more permanent, and it's the thing that writers seem to hang their hopes on.  If it's in fact more difficult to deal with negative opinions once you've crossed that threshold into publication, how will I handle it?  Will I read reviews?  Will bad reviews discourage me?  Will I ever feel like quitting because of the criticism?

I guess only time will tell.  I have to take the risk to know the answers to those questions.


  1. I hope I've come to a point now where criticism won't deter me from writing any further, but who knows? Maybe it still would. If anything, we have our blogs and people who, like us, will encourage us to get back in the saddle again. I bet you will continue, if anything, because your followers will be sure to kick your butt back into action. ;)

  2. I have never let anyone see my work yet but I think you are asking the right questions about criticism and how to handle it. You seem like you have the right attitude when your work does get published. Cheers

  3. I read a lot of this nodding my head in agreement and then ... five years!!! you've planned your writing goals for five years? Five? Years? Good grief - that's scarily organised. It is sensible to plan ahead and know what you're aiming for and I do hope you get there but I couldn't do it on that scale.

    I'll try not to feel insecure about that though - what works for you might not be the best method for me.

  4. It sounds like you've had some fantastic achievements with your blog!

    Putting your work out there is very scary. I'm going to be ready to start submitting my own book soon but I'm trying not to think about people actually reading it in case it puts me off.

  5. Wow L.G. you jump right in the deep end! Good for you. I need to get my work out there like you, instead of hanging out in the shallow end. I'm sure you will be awesome.

  6. You're doing great so far this year!
    It is scary to put work out there for the world to see. But for every person who thought it was average (or worse), ten times that many enjoyed it. And those are the ones who matter.

  7. It seems to me like your doing great so far!

  8. You are doing great, L.G. and congratulations on the new page view record. I would advise you to definitely get that thick skin going on because I can almost guarantee that you will get trolled at least once in a review from someone with a moniker like "haterofall" that leaves a 1-star review on your book. When you do get around to publishing, I would recommend that you set up some advanced reader copies and get them out to reviewers so that you will have a cushion available the day your book goes live with solid reviews to water down any trolls that may come out of the woodwork to "celbrate your debut novel."

  9. L.G. You really can't please everyone, but you try to please the people that matter. Thanks for sharing.