It has been a pathetically long time since I’ve talked about my own writing on this blog. I’m always up for discussing books that I loved or stories that resonated with me, but I don’t tend to stay mum about my own work for months on end. I like to talk about what I’m writing, and how my ideas have changed or grown from the seeds I start out with. And yet, every time I’ve sat down to blog about my progress on Facing the Music, or the brainstorming I’ve done for Amnesia Conspiracy, I’ve wound up silencing myself.
I’ve blogged about my crisis of confidence in my own writing several times now. I’ve blogged a little bit less about how hard it has been for me to get back on track after a slump that lasted most of 2013. What I haven’t been able to admit up until this point is how much the idea of sharing my stories with anyone scares me.
I know I’m not the only writer out there who feels that way. Sharing your work is scary. Receiving constructive criticism from people you may not even know is scary. Opening yourself up to all kinds of public reactions can be terrifying. There are plenty of blog posts out there about how to tune out the naysayers, or learn from them, or live with them. I see dozens of conversations happening on Twitter during any given week about how hard it can be to live with your own insecurities–about your work, or your success, or your likelihood of being successful.
The funny thing is that it’s much easier for me to be kind and supportive to the people having those conversations than it is to be kind of myself. I mean, I know what my experiences are. I’ve participated in so many writing workshops, through school and online and in person on my own time, that I should be used to handling criticism. I’ve had my work eviscerated in forums full of professionals who were strangers to me, and in classrooms with people I’d have to see multiple times a week. I’ve worked one on one with other writers who spelled out in detail what was wrong with my stories and how much work I would have to do to fix them.
You’d think by now that I would’ve perfected my thick skin. I haven’t.
That crisis of confidence didn’t just affect my writing, it affected my perception of my writing. It impacted my ability to care less about what other people think, take constructive criticism as it’s intended, and move forward. All this time I’ve been pretending that I don’t need to address my fears the way I would address a writer friend’s fears, and it’s completely held me back.
If I’m going to become a better writer and move closer to being published, I need to admit my own insecurities. I need to confront and deal with my self-doubt, instead of bottling it up and pretending that everything’s fine. I need to charge full speed ahead into the writing, or revising, or manuscript swapping without worrying what other people will think, or whether they’ll judge me. I need to focus on whatever story I’m working on right now, and enjoy the process instead of worrying about the future.
And I finally, finally think I’m on the right track. 🙂
Has insecurity ever intervened with your goals for yourself? How did you handle it? I want to know!