Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Dear Kathleen,

Hello. It’s been a while. Where the hell have you been? What’s with sitting staring at the screen? You know exactly what you want to write. You don’t believe in writer’s block so what’s going on? You haven’t even participated in anything lately. I mean, I know you’re shy and all, but this is just ridiculous. Lurking isn’t the answer. You have plenty to say and there are people out there who want to hear it. They are interested. Well, they would be if you actually spoke (or, in this case, typed). Tell me what’s going on.

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

Dear IWSG,

You’re right. There is a problem. I can’t put my finger on it, but I know it boils down to fear. I just have to figure out what that exact fear is. There are a few options to choose from on this. Maybe you can help me figure it out?

First, I am terribly shy. Let me explain how shy I am. I have one friend. One. Outside of family, there is only one person I talk to on a regular basis. She works and so our talking time is limited. I don’t get out much. The only times I do leave the house is to do grocery shopping or pick Precious up from school. Waving to other parents isn’t much of a basis for friendship. I do have people on Facebook whose status updates I occasionally comment on, but most of them are family as well. So, there is that fear of rejection if I open myself up to the writing world and allow them to see who I am. Some people think it’s easier to open up on the interwebz, but I am not one of those people. I think it’s much harder.

Second, I wonder just how much support I have from family, even though they have shown me nothing but support… Let me explain. They have shown me support by saying what a good job I’m doing. Hubs in particular has told me that I’m a good writer and that I need to keep doing what it is I’m doing so the world can see it too. My sister, my brother, my dad, and so on have all said how proud they are of how far I’ve come from just a few months ago when I opened up and told them exactly what I want to do with my life: be a writer. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if these are the obligatory remarks of a family who doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. This is my fear that my inner demons are right and that I am a worthless piece of crap who should give up this pursuit of happiness.

Third, I am almost done with the first drafts of two novels. I cannot bring myself to write more than a sentence here and there on either of them. I know exactly what to say because I know exactly what happens next, but I sit there, look at the screen in front of me, and reword the same sentence over and over again until I get it right. And then, it’s still never right. I did fine with “just do it” for so long, but I want the endings to be exactly the way they are supposed to be. This is the fear of the next stage of writing. The first draft is going to be crap. I know this. I’ve known this since I started both novels. But can I make it better? What if I finish these novels, edit them, and send them off to beta readers only to hear back that I am a horrible writer and no matter how much I rewrite or rework the things, they should never have been attempted in the first place?

So, it all boils down to fear. I guess my lack of writing lately, be it my works in progress or my blog, is a culmination of every fear I have listed. I’m sure there are more hiding down deep and waiting for their time to shine the light of doubt on me (a light that can be blinding), but these are what I know right now. These are the ones that I have to face every time I sit down and put fingers to keyboard.

I suppose getting these fears out in the open is help enough. And that wouldn’t be possible without you. I think I might have a lot of writing to do today, because I know you are out there, supporting me, rooting for me, and slapping me upside the head for good measure while saying “Get to it already!”

For that I say thank you. And ow=)

Gratefully Yours,
Kathleen Doyle – Writer

About Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of NA and Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble an eight and six year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz and a German Shepherd/Boxer rescue named Charlie. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's screaming at characters on TV and trying not to curse around her kids.
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15 Responses to Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. Dear Kathleen, you and I have the same fears. I'm just as shy, but I find that taking baby steps to meeting people works some of the time. I'm also stuck at the end of my latest WIP. All I have to do is write the climax, but I haven't opened the file since last year. It will take me forcing myself to sit down and just do it. Just to tell myself I completed the story. Then I'll worry about about whether it's good enough! Do it for yourself. As for family, sometimes it's hard for other people to understand writers, but I bet their encouragement is sincere. You can do this.

  2. Cate Masters says:

    I'm so with you on this one right now. Paralyzed by self-doubt (as my IWSG post shows). You are so close to finishing. Go with your gut, it will take you where you need to go. Or start a third novel to take the pressure off the other two. Ending can be difficult, but if you begin a new one, you'll still have a place to go with your writing.

  3. Like you said, just putting you fear out there is a good start. Knowing what you're up against always helps and now you can start trying to conquer those fears. Good luck!

  4. I need to write letters to myself, too, but I'm afraid of what is say. All normal fears. Just keep it up. You have blog supporters, too.

  5. Tonja says:

    I love your post! And I've definitely been there. Take the advice you would give your children if they were in the same situation. Trust yourself and know you can do it.

  6. I've started three new stories this month. I'd get a few words in after the initial hunger a new idea always has, but then….I'd let fear get the best of me and stop. I heard once that you have to see the blade of your opponent's sword, and move into the edge so you can turn your fears into courage.

  7. Rusty Webb says:

    I have that same problem. I used to be able to write huge amounts of prose without a worry in the world, but the past few years every word is a chore. I'm having this internal debate on whether or not its the right word for what I'm trying to say. Wait, I'm supposed to be encouraging you, not joining you in your fears. Well, if what you post here is an indicator, you're pretty good. Here's hoping confidence finds you in spades.

  8. Kathleen, I'm not an open person either. Getting online and making friends here was tough. But you can do it!What inspired what you are working on now? Go back to that and maybe it will give you a jolt.Thanks for participating in the IWSG.

  9. Wow, thanks for the support everyone! (I guess I should have expected it since it is a support group, lol =)Steph – I love that! I'm definitely going to "move into the edge" now! Thank you=)Rusty – It was not my intention to pull you in like that=) When I find the confidence, I'll shovel some in your direction;)Alex – I've missed the last couple of months, but was so glad to be back to IWSG! It's one way to get out there and meet people who may be just as shy as me=)

  10. Donna Hole says:

    I like that you signed this "writer". I could pretty much say "ditto" to all your fears – and the shyness. I think it is a trait most writers have.But sharing it is the first step to conquering it. Hang in there Kathleen. You will find your writing voice again. The aaah moment will be so sweet you'll feel like you just took a well deserved break.:)…….dhole

  11. Jan Morrison says:

    Hi Kahleen,I'm not shy. I'm out there with lots of pals and too many folks really who I need to tend from time to time BUT I totally get you. My outgoingness isn't the opposite of your shyness though many would say it is – it is the same thing – keeping oneself either paralyzed with shyness or too busy to take proper care of one's art is the same thing. Much love to you – all you need/ all I need is to get out of our own way. I'll be back.

  12. I saw this post on Google+, I am glad I clicked the link! I suffer from a fear of success. And like you, I battle self doubt about my writing and second guess the compliments of others. I am also very self conscious of my grammar. I have a few friends who are self proclaimed "grammar Nazi's" and/or are employed copy editors. They have never read a word I have written (outside of the sloppy facebook status update) so my concerns are simply in my own head.I am glad you wrote this post and thank you for it. I think it is really important for us to see that we are not alone in our insecurities!

  13. I'm similarly shy, if not more so.But even being shy, I think fear can be conquered; it just takes a bit of belief in yourself. And step after step.

  14. Hey Kathleen! How is your blog listed on the sign up list for the IWSG? Because now I can't find you!

  15. @Alex J. Cavanaugh It should be listed as Writing, Reading, and Life. Number 49 I believe.

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