Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure Writers

I am on a brief hiatus from blogging, but wanted to post for this month's Insecure Writer's Group. There's a whole bunch of us and if you want to learn more, head on over to Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog to learn more.

So I have a question for you today... something I've been pondering for awhile now....

Do you think the internet helps you feel more secure as a writer? Or is it the opposite? I know the advice and workshops and all are an enormous benefit where learning the craft comes in. But I'm not talking craft. I'm talking about being surrounded by success stories that could be you, and perhaps, one day will be you, if you should be so lucky.

How do those make you feel? Maybe so-and-so just got an agent, or so-and-so just got a  three book deal, or so-and-so made it to the NY Times Bestseller list. I don't mean comparing yourself with these success stories, because we all know we can't do that. Every path is different. And I'm sure when we do hear these success stories, we're genuinely happy for the writer. I know am, because I know how hard they worked.

But honestly speaking, does being surrounded by it make you feel more secure--that your day is coming if  you keep plugging along? Or does it make you feel like you're in a rat race and you better hurry to get your slice of pie?

I feel both ways sometimes. Sometimes I want to turn the internet off for a few weeks and just do what I love and write stories. Sometimes I don't wanna know what so-and-so author is up to, or what the most popular book is right now, or who got what agent. I don't say this with bitterness. I just say it because, lately, the internet has made me feel less secure as a writer. Now, I know there's only a small truth to that. The internet can't make me feel anything I don't already, right?

That's why I'm taking a brief blogging break and trying to find that magic that exists when it's just me and the keyboard and my imagination. I want to be secure in that. I just want to write.

I hope I don't come off the wrong way here in my honesty. I don't mean hard feelings toward anyone nor their success. I love success stories. I just don't wanna feel like I'm in a race for it. It's not a race at all. And there are so many wonderful things about the internet, like this group, and all the amazing bloggy friends I've made.

So what say you, fellow writers and friends? Do you ever feel this way too? I'm not looking for advice, I get it. I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this or if it's just my own insecurity? Fess up... let's hear it!


Learn more at Alex J Cavanaugh's blog (linked above) 

40 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

You're not alone. I often feel like I need some time away from the internet for the exact same reason. And taking breaks is good. It's necessary. And we'll all be here when you get back!

Isis Rushdan said...

The only person you are racing against is yourself. As you said, each path is different.

The internet does make me feel more insecure, but not because I'm more plugged into the success of others. Blogging, tweeting, having a website makes me feel so exposed. The world knows my dream. The world is watching and waiting. Just the other day I had a tweeting buddy say "I checked Amazon for your books, but didn't see any".

Once again, I had to explain that I have an agent, but not published...yet. Once I have a book on Amazon, believe me I will tell the world. Sometimes people suggest self-pubbing, probably thinking they are being helpful. I have a vision of what I want and self-pubbing at this point is not what I want. Yes, I'm in a rush, but I refuse to make a hasty decision. This is the age of immediate gratification where every writer who has written a book wants to get published tomorrow. With Smashwords and Amazon and BN, there is nothing to stop them from quite literally getting published tomorrow. I respect many writers for making the choice to go the indie route if they believe it was right for them. For me, I believe holding out for what I really want will be more satisfying. However, while I'm waiting, swimming in the social media pool, I can't help feeling like I'm swimming without a bathing suit on sometimes :).

Matthew MacNish said...

It definitely makes me feel more secure. Before I started blogging, I knew zero writers, and I was ready to give up before I met all of you amazing friends.

Old Kitty said...

I think when I was younger I'd feel the green monster more and the pressure if I'd been blogging then. Glad I blog now as these days I'm very very zen about stuff - I'm in no rush and I've accepted my failures and accepted that there are other more talented and more determined writers out there!!

Take care
x

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Taking a blogging break every once in a while (stepping away from the internet entirely) is a very good, healthy thing to do. I think it can go both ways when you're plugged in though. I hear the success stories, but I also hear about the losses. The got-an-agent-but-no-contract stories. The published-but-no-sales stories. And my heart breaks for those as much as I celebrate the successes. I think the most important thing is to know that writing is the most important thing of all. Stick with that, the rest will follow. :)

(p.s. enjoy your break!)

J. A. Bennett said...

I flip-flop. Sometimes i feel so encouraged by others and other time I feel totally jealous! I don't know if I have the strength to step away from the internet. I admire you!

Carol Riggs said...

I think it's a mixed bag. Some news and info is encouraging, some not so much. But it's all info and we're well-informed that way. :)

Cynthia Lee said...

Definitely take a break from the Internet for a while, if you need it.

I used to get mildly wadded up about success stories or so and so got their dream agent, etc.

So I started writing another book and I don't get wadded at all anymore. I don't know exactly why that is but I'm just gonna go with it.

Nancy Thompson said...

Definitely more secure. I simply could not have done anything without my blogger friends. And they keep me going when I get down and become insecure.

I thinks it's heartening to read about someone finally snagging an agent or getting a book deal. It gives me hope that the industry is still alive and kicking and that maybe I will make it, too someday.

(And I so get taking a break from blogging. It gets in the way of writing.)

Stacy Henrie said...

I feel much the same - some days the pile of information leaves me feeling discouraged, and other days I read something that helps me want to keep going.

Good luck with your writing. I tried this the other week - just wrote what I felt the story needed and threw all other voices/opinions out of my head. It was one of the best writing days I've had in a long time.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At first there were moments of insecurity. But I've found my groove and my place online and I feel good here now.

Jennee said...

When I first started blogging, I was constantly frustrated because I wondered when I was going to "get my 15 minutes of fame." But the more I blog, the more I realize that it's a great way to network so that if and when my day comes...it'll be for more than 15 minutes. Great post.

Michael Offutt said...

The internet makes me feel more secure as a writer because I can connect with people who understand my brand of "insanity".

Carla White said...

I can definitely relate, and not just with writing, sometimes is feels like all of the success we aim for in life is more a race to see if we get it before our friends. Sometimes you need to detach yourself from all of that to find perspective and remember what's important to you. It's more about the journey than the destination, right?

Kari Marie said...

I have mixed feelings too. I'm always happy to see a writer's dream come true. I also worry that I'll never get there, or if I do, that someone else will have already written it - only better. It can be inspiring though.

Stephen Tremp said...

I take a few Blogcations every year. Probably about six weeks worth total. Two weeks at Christmas. Two weeks in the summer. And a hand full of three day vacations. You have to do it and feel good about it too.

Cally Jackson said...

Thanks so much for your honesty, PK. I believe that everybody who has commented here (and probably many others) really appreciate it.

I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I get a little panicky when I ready about too much success on other people's blogs, because I (wrongly) think that there's only so much success to go round. If that person got it, does that mean I won't? Have they taken my share of the success that's available in the world? It's quite a negative attitude, and one I refute whenever I realise I'm thinking it. But it's easy to get overwhelmed by it sometimes.

Thanks again for sharing. :-)

Miranda Hardy said...

I feel both now and then, too. Sometimes I feel my writing isn't up to par, but other times I'm encouraged to keep growing and learning. I'm happy when I hear the success stories, happy for those writers making it.

Jennifer Jackson said...

I feel like I wouldn't keep going if not for the followers I have. (Although they are more talented than I, they are incredible and encouraging.)

I, as we speak, am being bombarded with rejections. Now, a smart writer would take this as a win in its own right. Someone like me sees it as the measure of writing worth.

Ainsley Shay said...

I'm always happy when an author or anyone for that fact has reached their dream they've worked so hard to attain. The insecurity may kick in when I actually read their book and I'm completely wowed. Or, the opposite happens - after I read a book - I think "Hey, I can totally do this!" It pushes me to be a better writer. So...I think it may depend on the mood I'm in...LOL.

Keep writing your dreams. Thanks for the post and your honesty.

Christine Danek said...

OMG can you read my mind? I feel like this all the time. I'm so happy for all those folks and will support them to the end, but I feel like I have to catch up and I'm so not worthy. There are times I don't want to know because I feel like I will never get there.
You are not alone. I think I may be doing this soon as well. Taking a blogging break.

Anonymous said...

Hey PK, I'll have to leave this comment as "anon" as that google thing is happening again. It's me, Florence from Ramblings :)

Yes, we all feel like that at times. When those times come, we need a break from the norm to catch our breaths, regroup our resolve and determine to continue.

If you don't mind a cliche ... the glass is half-full of those who have done what we want and that leaves lots of room for us :)

LTM said...

Yes! Oh, man, this is such a "hit the nail on the head" post for me. I'm completely schizophrenic about the Internet. Some days it's so encouraging, and then others it's very "why not me???" I guess it's just part of the process. ((hugs)) <3

Crystal Collier said...

Pk, I'm always insecure. Hearing other people's success used to make my gut twist, but as I've caught a true vision of what the writing journey entails, I'm less inclined to feel that way. Just because someone landed and agent or sold a first book doesn't mean they'll be a success. It will all be based on the merit of that person's writing. Therefore, while I have echoed your sentiment in the past, it now makes me want to work even harder. Doubt is a healthy thing, but true confidence comes only completing your own journey. Best of luck--and I'm looking forward to you MS as soon as it's ready to for beta reading.

Barbara Kloss said...

Gosh, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. I often think of when I was writing and didn't even HAVE a blog - how much fun that was. I didn't put all this pressure on myself, didn't hear all these voices telling me how to word things, and I certainly didn't write feeling like the entire virtual world was standing over my shoulder, watching me.

Thanks for this post. You're making me think about things right now...and I believe it'll help me get through this draft!

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

This is great. And, you are right. It can go both ways. The beauty is you recognize that's it's you, not the internet, the success or the complaints. It's how you feel about yourself and your work. And, I'm right there with you. I strongest feeling I have is support and encouragement. I am encouraged by other's success. If I compare too much, self-doubt crawls in and nests. I have to shut that voice up.

Glad to meet you!

Michael Di Gesu said...

We wouldn't be human if we didn't have these feelings. Stepping away is a great way relieve the anxieties.

My blog name pretty much covers my feelings on our long journeys. IN TIME... It will happen when it does. Never lose sight of your dream.

You are talented writer PK. You've had great reviews from people in the business. You've had requests for your work. That is a lot more than most of us.

Of course the token stars stand out because that's what we all want. How many have really made it to the top. VERY few.

But the little glitters along the way are where most of us are at in our writing. As long as there's a spark there can be a fire.

Sarah Pearson said...

I like the internet because I've met people who don't look at me like I'm nuts when I talk about writing. That said, I feel more of a pressure to succeed. Not because of anything anyone has said, I love how supportive my friends are (you only have to look at this blogfest for that!), but because I've admitted what I'm trying to do, so now I feel like I should succeed at it.

Talei said...

Its a little of the Catch 22. I can't live without the internet for research and networking - but it also can hinder your relationship with your manuscript. Totally understand what you mean. It's also distracting and I find all the writing tips some times - just a little overwhelming. Its amazing how many published writers had told me to ignore it. (yes, its true) Keep nurturing your imagination and writing - thats whats important.

William Kendall said...

The net can definitely be a double edged sword. It can be beneficial at times, and other times.... you really need to get away from it.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I can see how success stories leave a hole in your heart and you feel behind. Remember that this writing career is a race of one.

We must fight for ourselves and find the right kind of support to help push us up.


Happy Friday, PK...



♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

Laila Knight said...

Bloggins is pressure, and I remember when it was just writing for fun. I didn't have any rules to follow except what my characters were telling me. Now I realize I have to do it this way, and write like that, and it's all the internet's fault. But I'm also happy for the opportunity to learn and meet other wonderful bloggers like you. :)

Donna Hole said...

Having a blog and following others in their writing adventures does make me feel secure because I can get to know someone, follow their writing journey, hear of frustrations with the process itself, get resources and support.

I'm glad to hear when people land an agent or small publisher. I don't feel in competition with them or that this is a race to be the first to query "the right agent". What really makes me feel secure is that I know these are real people, just like me, with day lives and obligations, and a writing dream. So I know it can happen to someone like me.

Maybe it won't happen, maybe it will. I've got two short story publishings since becoming involved with the internet for more than just Google searches, and that is more than I had before. I'm sure that only happened because I read advice and experiences from other writers and was able to use the support, encouragement, tools and resources in my own way.

I was ready to give up on writing after only a few rejections on my first novel; then I found the blogs and garnered a wealth of info I would not have found alone.

But the internet can be a huge procrastination excuse too, so yeah, I think taking breaks is also essential to the writing process. I'm thinking of taking a two or three month hiatus soon myself. I'm sure I'll get much more writing and reading done.

Take care of your creative self however you need to PK. Friends will always welcome you back :)

.........dhole

Melodie Wright said...

I used to feel that way - pushed rather than pulled along - but for some reason, I'm over it. Timing is everything and it's different for everyone. Plus, timing is out of my hands. It'll happen when it's time...*taps foot* :)

Angela Ackerman said...

I like to hear about people's good news, but it all depends on where my head is at. Sometimes, it does seem to be too much, and that's when I take a bit of a break from the online world and turn my energy more fully into writing and learning to be a stronger writer. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Donna K. Weaver said...

Other people's success doesn't bother me. I'm happy for them, and it inspires me to do better. Sometimes I think I'd like to be like them and be successful, too, and then I hear what it's like. I might not know what I'm really asking for. One of my sons, a young father, recently apologized to my husband for giving us such a hard time when he was growing up. My son said being an adult is hard. I have a feeling being a successful writer is, too.

Donna K. Weaver said...

haha ... or even an unsuccessful author.

DM said...

I am totally insecure as a writer. I love when I hear a success story, but some stories just aren't true or as successful as the author claims they are. I love the internet because my internet friends boost my morale.

Jodi Henry said...

Published authors always felt like those intangible celebrities until I started blogging. Now, they feel like normal people who all took a similar path to reaching their dream that I am.

Each success story of a fellow blogger humanizes the published author a little more for me. And now, even agents/editors/publishers are starting to become human too.

Sure they operate the deadbolts on our doors to success, but they need us as much as we need them.

So I definitely feel more secure than before I started blogging.

J

cleemckenzie said...

Oh that internet is my best friend/worse enemy. It just depends on the day and my state of mind.