Today's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means the first posting from the Insecure Writer's Group! Why insecure writers, you ask? I think we all have those times when we have doubts--doubts in our abilities, in our words, in our stories. That's why it's great to know there are others out there who feel the same.
Hey we gotta stick together, man. It's a cruel world out there.
I remember when I'd just finished my first novel length story... about four years ago. I was so sure the publishers would be fighting over it. Which one would have the pleasure of reading my story first??
Okay, stop ROTFL. I know, I know. Oh, the naivety!
I didn't blog, I didn't network--other than typical Facebook with friends and fam. I had NO CLUE what I was doing, other than telling a story I thought was pretty darn good.
It was good. If you could weed out all the overused adverbs and adjectives, overlook all the telling instead of showing, poor sentence structure, slow pacing, etc. Oh, and get this... almost every chapter started with my MC getting out of bed and ended with her going to bed. Made sense to me then. That's what peeps do in real life, right??
LOL. No wonder I couldn't get any bites. And my query? *cringe* It was horrible. I didn't understand what I was doing wrong. My story was good, dang it!
So fast forward to present day, four years and six stories later: I can now say I kinda know what I'm doing. I did figure out what I was doing wrong. I wasn't feeling insecure, I was confused why no one wanted my brilliant story. Other than parenting and the day job, I've pretty much done nothing but study craft and write stories for the last four years. Oh, and beta and critique as much as possible.
Has my writing improved? Unbelievably so
Do I still feel insecure? Sometimes
It's hard to tell when a story I've written and love is good or not. Then, I wonder if my beta readers are telling me the honest truth or just being nice. Do you go though that? You know, where you're so close to your story you just can't be objective anymore, but you still can't believe that all that mumbo jumbo that came out of your brain actually makes sense to another human being???
But what else can we do but believe in ourselves? As Dorie would say, "Just keep swimming..."
Eventually, something brilliant will come out of us.
A couple of important things I've learned so far:
* Always move on to the next story
* Critique as many other writer's stories as you can
* Let your story simmer a month before reading it with fresh eyes
* Don't be afraid to fail, it's the only way we grow
So that's how I keep swimming when I'm feeling the ugly beast of self-doubt rear its head.
What do you do?