07 December 2011

Word of Encouragement to Insecure Writers

I've been pondering what it is about writers that is so easily associated with insecurity. What's curious is from the outside, from the perspective of readers (specifically those who don't write), this association is confusing. What the reader sees is the finished product, the sales numbers, maybe even the prestige. Even for writers who haven't published anything, when those who don't write hear of our bent for crafting words, they don't immediately think we're as insecure as we may be.

From my experience, the reaction people have toward writers is quite positive. We (ha! we) seem to be seen as gifted, intelligent, and imaginative - not insecure.

This is my view of other writers, too, especially the published-famous variety. One writer in particular, one who made a significant imprint on American Literature, who ended his own life due in part to his insecurities comes to mind: Ernest Hemingway.


Surely there were other forces at work before Hemingway put the shotgun to his head. However, I can't help but imagine the same questions of ability, of creativity, of originality that float around my head when I write - and specifically what others will think of me in those terms - also tormented Hemingway. And what's my reaction to this association? Absurdity! How could someone so manly, so experienced, and so gifted possibly suffer from insecurity?

If I could write something as beautiful as (insert your favorite writer), then I'll have made it - THEN all my fears will vanish. Yet, and here's the problem (and probably one of Hemingway's), all that fame, all those people talking about that intimate creation of yours, will only enhance your insecurity. Somehow you'll gravitate toward the negative commentary, even if it's less than the positive. Perhaps, once that bestseller maxes out its potential, you'll experience the most feared result of insecurity: WRITER'S BLOCK.

And doesn't it make sense? Our fears will lead to zero creativity - and that's how we all started writing wasn't it? We had some sort of spark in our mind and we had to write something down before our fingertips exploded. That's the creative "gene", if you will, that the Creator gave us. Fear has no part in that.

So, and here's the encouragement part of this, when you write, remember why you picked up your pen in the first place (or fired up your computer is more like it). You didn't want to write to please other people did you? I hope you didn't. You were answering a call deep inside yourself - keep listening to that voice.

The only way I was successful in finishing my first manuscript, and really even starting it, was remembering I had to write something I would want to read myself. And essentially that's how we should write, as though we were our only audiences. Chances are if you like what you read, others will too.

8 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're right. The pressure can cause the insecurity, even though it shouldn't. I'll be the first to confess, it does though.
Thanks for joining the IWSG!

Man O' Clay said...

Yeah, I'm looking forward to searching through other posts!

jbchicoine said...

I think one of the biggest traps we 'creative types' can fall into is comparing ourselves with anyone--even comparing our current endeavors with our past accomplishments. Try as I may, I still trip over that...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Nicely stated.Good to meet you and join your following.
Be well.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a great observation about our insecurities. Nice to meet you.

Rosanna C. Rogacion said...

Oh yes, it's the fear that gets in the way....

Man O' Clay said...

Thank you all for reading and commenting!

Julie said...

This is a fantastic post! We get insecure because we're afraid people won't like this creation we've put our heart and soul into... but at the same time, aren't we just that much "ahead of the pack" so to speak BECAUSE our creative minds sparked us to action in the first place?! So true. I need to remember this when I hear the rejections.

Thanks for sharing!

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